The hips are involved in all of our movements when we are upright, and a damaged hip can make many of life’s simple pleasures, things like hiking on a forest trail, excruciatingly painful, either during the hike or hours afterward. Things you may have taken for granted your entire life, such as getting out of a chair, become torturous. Sleep can be difficult, as your bad hip is loaded when on your side. The damage is most likely simply a result of long-term use. Maybe you were a dancer in school. Maybe you’ve been a lifelong runner. You’ve participated in activities that have likely damaged the cartilage in the hip socket or maybe the cartilage has mostly worn away.
At this point, people can seek any way to reduce their pain. They may have cortisone injections or hip resurfacing procedures that “clean out” the torn or frayed cartilage. They likely are giving up certain sports or activities they love.
But when the pain continues, as it usually will when the damage is within the hip socket, it could be time to consider a total hip replacement with the experienced team at Summit Healthcare Orthopedic Center.
What is a hip replacement?
Hip replacement is one of the most successful operations performed in the medical world. As we age as a population, the need is growing all the time. Hip replacement can make a real difference in the life of the patient, in effect allowing the person to return to a pain-free life once again.
Hip replacement involves addressing both the bone and the socket. The damaged ball of the thighbone is replaced with a metal ball; the socket is ground clean of damage and a metal socket is inserted into it for the new metal ball to pivot within. By having this surgery with our healthcare providers you can greatly improve your quality of life.
How will I know if I need hip replacement surgery?
There are no absolute age or weight restrictions with hip replacement. Whether or not you and your doctor feel this surgery is the way to go will be based on your level of pain and how your damaged hip is impacting your daily life, not some arbitrary age. Most patients who undergo their procedure at Summit Healthcare Orthopedic Center are between the ages of 50 and 80.
People considering hip replacement surgery usually have been dealing with the pain for a long time, possibly decades. The question is — how badly is the pain affecting your life? Your doctor and our entire Summit Orthopedic team will walk you through the decision.
These are some of the common issues people have when considering hip replacement:
- Hip pain is limiting activities such as walking or bending.
- Hip pain is impacting sleep.
- Pain continues even when resting.
- There is stiffness in the hip that limits movement.
- Other avenues to address the pain have not been effective — physical therapy, band-aid procedures such as hip resurfacing, cortisone injections, and other options are not stopping the pain.
What Our Patients Say
“Fantastic results on my hip replacement” – Keith H.
Causes of Cronic Hip Pain That Lead To Total Hip Replacement
How did you get to this point? What went wrong with your hips? The most common cause of chronic hip pain and damage is arthritis, in this case osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis — Most all of us have some degree of this “wear-and-tear” arthritis, as we get older. In the hips, osteoarthritis damages the slick cartilage that covers the ends of the femur and the inside of the hip socket.
- Rheumatoid arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis creates inflammation that erodes cartilage and bone in the hips.
- Post-traumatic arthritis — If you’ve had a serious hip injury or fracture, the cartilage could have been damaged, leading to pain and stiffness over time.
- Osteonecrosis — Sometimes a hip dislocation or fracture can limit the blood supply to the femoral head, which causes the surface of the bone to collapse. If you know Bo Jackson’s story, this was his cause for immediate hip replacement.
- Childhood hip disease — In rare cases, children have hips that didn’t develop normally. Even if the hips were successfully treated during childhood, these conditions will often lead to arthritis later in life.
What is the average age for a hip replacement?
There is no average or “set” age for these procedures. Teenagers can sometimes have juvenile arthritis, and seniors have degenerative osteoarthritis. If you were to average out this procedure, you would see patients between the ages of 50 and 80.
Benefits of Hip Replacement
If you are one of the many people suffering from hip pain, total hip replacement surgery can change your life. Patients who have this orthopedic surgery experience:
- A reduction or complete stop from hip pain
- An increase in leg strength from your prosthesis
- An improvement in the quality of life from being pain-free
- More mobility leading to a happier daily life
Preparing for Total Hip Replacement
The morning of your hip surgery, you will likely arrive at the hospital early. Once at the hospital, we will check your temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure prior to surgery. Follow all of your surgeon’s instructions before surgery:
- Do not eat or drink 10 hours before surgery
- Speak to your provider about your medication
- Attempt to sleep as much as possible
- Make sure you have a driver after surgery
Hip Replacement Procedure
You will be brought to the operating room once your surgeon and surgical team are ready. The anesthesia given will help you sleep through your hip replacement surgery. In the surgery, an incision is made, which allows your surgeon to access the hip joint. The damaged hip is removed, and the socket is prepared to hold the prosthesis. With the new joint in place, the incision is closed with a specific surgical glue.
Preparing the Bone
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball is cut from the thighbone, and the surface of the old socket is smoothed. Then the new socket is put into the pelvis. The socket is usually press-fit and may be held in place with screws. A press-fit prosthesis has tiny pores on its surface that your bone will grow into. Cement or press-fit may be used to hold the ball-and-stem portion of the total hip replacement.
Joining the New Parts
The new hip stem is inserted into the head of your thighbone. After the stem is secure in the thighbone, the new ball and socket are joined. The stem of the prosthesis may be held with cement or press-fit. Your surgeon will choose the method that is best for you.
Hip Replacement Recovery
After the total hip replacement surgery, the patient is brought to the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit). Once you are fully awake, a nurse will move you to your room. Then they give you medications to lower your pain. An SCD (Sequential Compression Device) may be used to prevent blood clots by gently squeezing then releasing your legs. You may be given medication to prevent blood clots.
Our skilled orthopedic team will help you get up and moving after surgery. They know precisely what they’re doing and how to help you recover, heal, and get back to life in the fastest, safest way possible. You may also have physical therapy or occupational therapy after your hip replacement surgery.
After total hip replacement surgery, you will probably be hospitalized for one-to-three days. Recovery time varies following hip replacement surgery, but most people are able to drive after two weeks, garden after three-to-four weeks, and golf after six-to-eight weeks. Your hip doctor will tell you which activities you can return to, and when, and which activities you’ll need to avoid.
How soon after my surgery will I feel relief from my hip pain?
Your pain will be immediately gone, as the areas of your hip that were creating the pain have been replaced by artificial parts. Of course, you’ll have the pain of your recovery from the procedure, but the pain from your damaged hip is gone for good. Usually, within just six to 12 weeks after your replacement surgery, you’ll be able to return to all of your normal activities, only now you can do them pain-free. At Summit Healthcare Orthopedic Center one of the first things we often hear when the patient’s recovery is moving forward is “Why did I wait so long to have this done?”
How long before I can walk normally after hip replacement?
Everyone heals at his or her own pace, but there are some timeline averages. At from 3-6 weeks after your surgery, you will be able to walk without a walker or crutches. Whether you consider this walking “normally” is up to you. It’s likely you may not have been walking normally for some time due to your hip pain. Just about everyone would say they were walking just fine in 10-12 weeks at most, although there are exceptions.
Scarring After Total Hip Replacement
You will have scarring after hip replacement, but most patients are more than happy to simply be able to move again. The method used affects the size of the scar. With an anterior approach, the incision runs down the front of the thigh starting at the pelvic bone and will be approximately 3-6 inches. With a posterior hip replacement, the incision tends to be behind the hip, down the outer buttocks. If this can be done with a minimally invasive technique, the incision will be from 3-5 inches. If a traditional posterior method is used, the scar will be longer, from 8-10 inches.
Risks and Complications
As with any surgery, hip replacement surgery does have potential risks. These complications could be:
- Blood clots
- Dislocation of the joint
- Prosthesis becomes loosened
- Damaging nearby blood vessels, nerves, or bones
- Thigh pain
- Bad reaction to anesthesia
When to call your Orthopedic Surgeon?
After you are home safely, make sure to call your doctor if you experience these symptoms:
- An increase in hip pain
- Pain or swelling in a calf or leg
- Unusual redness, heat, or drainage at the incision site
- Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) or higher
- Trouble breathing or chest pain (call 911)
Schedule A Consultation
If you want to learn how a total hip replacement can change your life, contact Summit Healthcare Orthopedic Center. Our practice serves Show Low, and surrounding areas in Arizona.