Hip Replacement Surgery

Jun 24, 2016

Hip Replacement Surgery

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Even the most reliable vehicles need a few parts replaced at some point, including your own body. Next to the knees, hips are one of the most injury-prone body parts as you or your loved one reaches their later years. As time goes on, it’s important to be able to identify if you or your loved one needs hip surgery, as well as learn how to deal with the preparation, process, and recovery.

Signs You May Need Hip Replacement Surgery

  • Your pain persists or recurs over time
  • Your hip aches during and after exercise
  • You're no longer as mobile as you'd like to be
  • Medication and using a cane aren't delivering enough relief
  • Your hip stiffens up from sitting in a car or a movie theater
  • You feel pain in rainy weather
  • The pain prevents you from sleeping
  • You feel a decrease in hip motion or the degree to which you're able to bend
  • Your hip is stiff or swollen
  • You have difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • You have difficulty getting in and out of chairs and bathtubs
  • You feel a "grating" of your joint
  • You've had a previous injury to your hip

The Process

Although there is a minimally invasive surgery option, the most traditional hip surgery will be a little more invasive. Most of the time you or your loved one will be put to sleep with general anesthesia so you do not feel any pain. Depending on allergies or the doctor’s preference, you may be given a spinal anesthetic.

The doctor will then make a cut along the side of the hip and move the muscles connected to the top of the thighbone to expose the hip joint. The ball joint will then be removed by cutting out the portion with a saw. Using cement or an artificial material, the replacement joint will be reattached to the hip.

Next, the doctor removes any excess cartilage before attaching the replacement socket to the hipbone. The new ball part of the thighbone is then inserted into the socket part of the hip. A drain may be put in to help drain any fluid. The doctor then reattached the muscles and closes the incision.

The Recovery

After the surgery, you or your loved one can expect a four to six-day stay in the hospital. To keep the new hip joint in place you may have the hip immobilized with a special pillow. A catheter will most likely be inserted to help relieve the bladder.

Physical therapy will begin a day or two after the surgery, with your physical therapist focusing on getting you or your loved one to walk with the use of a walker or crutches. Once you or your loved one is able to walk with the help of crutches or a walker, the hospital stay has come to an end.

Things to Avoid

  • Make the necessary steps to ensure that you or your loved one will not have to climb stairs. Moving a bed down to the first floor would be the best option.
  • Sitting in firm, straight-backed chairs are also recommended. Recliners or couches can cause hip pain and discomfort.
  • Remove loose rugs and avoid wet and slippery floors. It’s important to remove any falling hazards to prevent further injuries.
  • Use an elevated toilet seat. It’s important to bend as little as possible especially early on in recovery.
  • It also might be a good idea to figure out a safe way to enter the shower area. A walk-in shower is preferred, but if that’s not a financially viable option, make sure to have someone help you in and out of the shower.
  • Lastly, although they’ll be happy to see you when you arrive home, make sure any enthusiastic pets are tamed. These furry friends can become hazards if they’re too active.

Exercising After Hip Replacement Surgery

Stretching

Stretching will not only warm up your muscles, but it’s a good way to ease into the rehab process. Various stretches will increase your range of motion and strengthen your joints and muscles.

Walking

This is a great way to get exercise while enjoying the outdoors. Walking with a partner will be a great company and is also a proper safety measure. This is a great way to stretch out the hip area and improve strength and flexibility.

Resistance Bands

Strengthen muscles and joints using the tension of resistance bands. Make sure only to stretch the bands until you feel pain. Make sure to ease into this process to reduce the risk of injury.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the average recovery time for hip surgery?

This will depend on your overall health and how involved you are with your rehabilitation and healing process. Immediately after the surgery, you or your loved one will stay three to four days overnight. During your recovery time, you will participate in physical therapy for your broken hip, and will also want to continue to rehab your hip with exercises at home. Eventually, within a month you should be able to walk with the help of crutches or a walker. A few months after that, you should be able to walk on your own.

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What treatments are available for hip fractures?

When seeking treatment for a broken hip, your doctor is likely to consider your age and physical condition before making a treatment plan. Most of the time, older people who may have additional medication issues will be provided with treatment plans based on factors such as:

  • Medications prescribed to you
  • Past surgeries to repair or replace a hip
  • Experience with physical therapy

Depending on the type of fracture you’ve suffered, the surgical solution will vary. Usually, a series of screws, rods, and locking plates will be used to stabilize and facilitate the healing of the broken portions of the femur. Screws can extend into the socket and the femur, given the site of the fracture.

Otherwise, an entire hip replacement may be the better decision, especially for intracapsular fractures. Here, the entire ball and socket of the hip are replaced with artificial components. Doctors will move forward with your treatment and recovery based on your past medical conditions and health before the injury.

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