Normally, the hip functions as a “ball-and-socket” joint. The top of the thigh or the femur bone referred to as the “ball” fits into a part of the pelvis called the acetabulum referred to as the “socket” which allows the joint to move smoothly in multiple directions. Total hip arthroplasty is a surgical procedure that replaces the hip joint with artificial parts (called prostheses).
Advancements in joint replacement surgery have resulted in the migration of the total hip joint procedures to the outpatient surgery center for patients who meet specific criteria. Our Surgery Center began performing total joints on select patients in 2010. We provide a high quality and safe alternative to having the procedure performed as an inpatient. This option provides a significant cost savings to the patient as well as the insurance company while promoting high quality and safe care. Please contact our surgical center if you are interested in this option.
THE PROCEDURE: Total hip arthroplasty is performed in an operating room after you are given general anesthesia. The surgical approach used will be determined by your surgeon and is typically a single incision along the posterior (rear), lateral (side), or anterior (front) aspect of the hip. The type of prosthesis used depends upon the needs of a particular patient and the surgeon performing the procedure. There are a variety of types of prosthetic surfaces, including metal-on-plastic, metal-on-metal, and ceramic-on-ceramic.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE: After total hip replacement, you will be given pain medication through your IV or by mouth. You will also be given an antibiotic to prevent infection. Most people are also given a medication to help prevent blood clots in the legs. Compression sleeves (devices that are worn around the legs and that inflate periodically) are often worn to prevent blood clots. Most people are able to stand and even walk within a few hours after the surgery.
Physical therapy (PT) is an important part of the recovery process. You will continue your therapy at home under the supervision of a physical therapist, or you may stay in a rehabilitation facility and continue PT until you are able to independently perform daily activities. The rehabilitation program generally includes exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint, as well as training in activities of daily life (e.g. stair climbing, bending, walking). The goal of the rehabilitation is to regain strength and motion.
RECOVERY TIME: Most hip surgery patients can resume their normal activities within three to six months. While high-impact sports such as running, contact sports, and skiing are not usually recommended after hip replacement, you can typically participate in activities like walking, cycling, and swimming.
Most hip replacements last 10 to 15 years or longer, and most people are very satisfied with the outcome. Newer prosthetic types may extend the life of the hip replacement.