Hip To Be Repaired

The hips are the link between the upper torso and lower limbs. Great hip strength and flexibility are critical for mobility and a good quality of life, especially with age. Yet, the hips are often prone to wear and tear, known as osteoarthritis. Hip injuries are common in sports and can leave nagging issues. The cartilage and bone wear away, leading to pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving. In severe cases, total hip replacement surgery is necessary to improve quality of life. Surgeons perform more than 450,000 hip replacements yearly. A new hip does not occur with the snap of a finger. Patients must undergo an intricate process during and after surgery for the best possible outcome.

3 Things to Know Before Your FESS surgery

Joined at the hip

A total hip replacement aims to remove and replace the damaged bone and cartilage in 1 or both hip joints. The hip consists of a ball and socket structure. The femoral head of the top of the femur, shaped like a ball, fits into the acetabulum socket at the base of the pelvis. Both parts have cartilage and synovial fluid that is essential for movement. Should the cartilage and bone wear away, painful movement, instability, and stiffness that impact daily activities can occur. During a total hip replacement, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone and installs a prosthetic that acts as the new joint, relieving pain and restoring mobility.

It's all about the setup

Surgery is often the last resort, as doctors typically encourage conservative means of treatment first. If surgery is agreed upon, all parties undergo a multi-step process to ensure success. The surgeon will make sure the implant is compatible with the patient, considering factors like height, weight, and materials. Other factors like skin infections and other medical conditions are noted before moving forward. In some cases, weight loss is recommended for the best results. The patient may begin physical therapy (PT) and weight loss practices several weeks before surgery for an optimal outcome.

What should you expect during surgery?

On the day of surgery, the patient receives general anesthesia to induce sleep. The procedure begins with incisions on the front or side of the hip. The surgeon then removes the damaged bone and cartilage. Next, the surgeon drills into the femur to prepare for the installation of the femoral stem of the implant. The ball component is then pressed into the acetabulum space. In some cases, a special cement is used to seal the socket. Several checks are then performed to ensure the new joint is aligned correctly. Once joint installation is successful, the incisions are closed, and the patient is moved to recovery.

Recovery times depend on surgery type

What should patients expect after surgery? For starters, the recovery length depends on the type of procedure performed. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is used to perform most hip replacements. This procedure involves using small incisions and a scope to view and perform the procedure. MIS allows the patient to leave on the same day and experience a faster recovery. An outpatient option can also impact the success rate. Recently, surgical teams have included robotics to improve accuracy. Open surgeries use larger incisions, which can lead to more blood loss and increase the risk of infection. Patients can discuss the best option based on general health and the surgeon's capabilities.

Surgery is just the start

A total hip replacement surgery removes the damaged joint and installs a new joint. However, the patient must undergo a recovery process to ensure success. Pain management and wound care are essential during the first 1-2 weeks. Assisted devices like a walker, shower chair, or raised seats can help with daily living. The patient will also take medication and care for the wound while resting at home. Physical therapy starts simultaneously and consists of a mix of stretching, massage, and exercises. As time progresses, PT intensifies, improving strength and mobility. The patient will also have periodic follow-up appointments with the surgeon to monitor the new joint.

A better hip is possible

As recovery progresses, the patient can slowly integrate everyday activities into daily life. A total hip replacement can turn a painful, miserable life into a life filled with activity and wonder. Don't hesitate to take action to address years of hip pain and instability.

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