How Beneficial is Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement is a very effective surgery for relieving pain from arthritis, especially if it limits everyday activities and other treatments did not provide pain relief. The American College of Rheumatologists has called total joint replacement “The single greatest advancement of arthritis treatment in this century.
A total hip replacement consists of replacing both the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) with metal and plastic components. Surgical techniques have been refined over the last decade leading to a shorter hospitalization, less discomfort and fewer complications.
What Are the Signs of Hip Arthritis?
Pain from arthritis in the hip can appear in many areas, including the groin, thigh, buttocks, or knee. The pain can either be a sharp pain or a dull ache, and the hip is often stiff which can make it difficult to walk. Discomfort is typically most noticeable when getting out of bed in the morning or after other periods of inactivity. Popping sounds in your hip can be caused by reduced cartilage and the grinding of bones. Patients can also experience swelling and a decreased range of motion, which can result in limping.
Hip Replacement Surgeon near Seattle
The surgical approach and the size of the incision are critically important elements of hip replacement surgery. The success of this operation is largely related to the hip surgeon’s ability to gain adequate exposure to the arthritic hip joint. Recent enhancements in surgical technique and instrumentation have allowed more limited surgical approaches in certain patients. The use of these instruments, selected implants, and minor modifications of the surgical dissection allow hip replacement to be done through a 4-6 inch incision. The potential benefits of this less invasive technique are significant:
- Better cosmetics
- Less postoperative pain
- Less blood loss
- Earlier rehabilitation
- Fewer wound complications
It is important, however, to understand that small incisions for hip replacement are a recent development. Precise placement of hip components is the primary goal of the surgery and should not be compromised for a smaller incision. Patient factors such as weight, stiff hips, previous hip surgery, and hip deformity can require the standard sized incision.
What is Recovery After a Hip Replacement Like?
After a hip replacement, you will likely stay in the hospital for one night before going home and starting physical therapy. The day of or a day after surgery you will be able to stand and walk with support. Within 3 to 6 weeks, most patients can resume light activities and continue physical therapy and exercise.