Hip bones support a lot of weight and are surrounded by powerful muscles. Disease or injury to these bones can be very painful and impair movement. A hip replacement can return someone to normal movement. It may be done because of a broken hip, bone tumors, or loss of blood flow to the hip. It may also be done for severe arthritis that is no longer responding to other treatment.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
Hip dislocation—happens when the ball portion of the artificial joint comes out of its normal position in the hip
Nerve block—the area around the major nerves will be numbed
Description of the Procedure
A hip replacement may be an open surgery or minimally invasive.
An incision will be made along the joint. The muscles will be moved aside. The damaged bone and cartilage of the hip joint will be removed. The remaining bone will be prepared for the artificial joint. The artificial joint will be put in place. Bone cement may be used to hold one or both parts of the artificial hip to the bone. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
Minimally Invasive Technique
A few small incisions will be made. Tools will be passed through these incisions. Images may be taken to help guide surgery. The muscles will be moved aside. The damaged bone and cartilage of the hip joint will be removed. The remaining bone will be prepared for the artificial joint. The artificial joint will be put in place. Bone cement may be used to hold one or both parts of the artificial hip to the bone. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
How Long Will It Take?
Total hip replacement: 1 to 1.5 hours
Minimally invasive total hip replacement: 1 or more hours
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first few weeks. Medicine and home care can manage pain.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 1 to 3 days. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
After the procedure, the staff may:
Give you pain medicine or medicine to prevent blood clots
Put compression boots or stockings on your legs
Ask you to get up and walk using a walker
Support will be needed for physical activity. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work for a few weeks. It will take about 6 weeks before you can begin light activities.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
Redness, swelling, more pain, a lot of bleeding, or leaking from the incision
Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
Severe nausea or vomiting
Pain or swelling in the feet, calves, or legs
Pain that you cannot control with medicine
Numbness, tingling, or loss of feeling in your leg, knee, or foot
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Minimally invasive total hip replacement surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00404. Updated June 2014. Accessed July 15, 2020.
Ninomiya JT, Dean JC, et al. What's New in Hip Replacement. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2015 Sep 16;97(18):1543-1551.
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