Hip replacement, also called total hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace a worn out or damaged hip with a prosthesis (an artificial joint). This surgery may be considered following a hip fracture (breaking of the bone) or for someone who has severe pain due to arthritis.
The goal of hip replacement surgery is to replace the parts of the hip joint that have been damaged and to relieve hip pain that cannot be controlled by other treatments.
A traditional hip replacement involves an incision several inches long over the hip joint. A newer approach that uses a smaller incision to perform the procedure is called minimally invasive hip replacement. However, the minimally invasive procedure is not suited for all candidates for hip replacement. The physician will determine the best procedure for a person, based on that individual's situation.
Reasons for Total Hip Replacement
Hip replacement surgery is a treatment for pain and disability in the hip. The most common condition that results in the need for hip replacement surgery is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by the loss of joint cartilage in the hip. Damage to the cartilage and bones limits movement and may cause pain. People with severe pain due to degenerative joint disease may be unable to do normal activities that involve bending at the hip, such as walking or sitting, because they are painful.
Other forms of arthritis may be reason for hip replacement surgery. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the synovial lining of the joint and results in excessive synovial fluid and may lead to severe pain and stiffness. Traumatic arthritis, arthritis due to a hip injury, may also cause damage to the articular cartilage of the hip and can also lead to degeneration of the hip joint.
Hip replacement may also be used as a method of treating certain hip fractures. A fracture is a traumatic event that may result from a fall. Pain from a fracture is severe and walking or even moving the leg is difficult.
If medical treatments are not satisfactory at controlling pain due to arthritis, hip replacement surgery may be an effective treatment. Some medical treatments for degenerative joint disease may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- anti-inflammatory medications
- glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
- pain medications
- limiting painful activities
- assistive devices for walking (such as a cane)
- physical therapy
There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a hip replacement surgery.
Risks of Total Hip Replacement
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications of a total hip replacement may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- blood clots in the legs or lungs
- need for revision or additional hip surgery
- nerve injury resulting in weakness or numbness
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure.
Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery
There is no accepted definition for minimally invasive hip surgery, which can sometimes make the term misleading. The truth is that all surgery is invasive to the body and will carry some risks. Minimally invasive surgery can reduce normal physiologic and psychological responses to surgery but cannot eliminate them.
Beaumont's comprehensive program incorporates the latest implants and instrumentation, as well as new surgical approaches that reduce trauma to tendons and muscles. The program also features smaller incisions, improved anesthetic and pain management techniques and early rehabilitation.
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