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The hip joint is a connection point between your legs and torso. It’s made up of your thighbone (femur) and your hipbone (pelvis). The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that supports your body weight and allows you to move your upper leg. The hip and knee joints are the largest in the body.
The head of your femur fits into a cup-shaped cavity (the acetabulum) in your pelvis. A flexible and tough protective tissue called cartilage covers the inside of the acetabulum and the head of the femur. Tissue lining your joint makes fluid that with the cartilage helps your bones slide easily against each other. Muscles and ligaments (strong fibrous tissues) hold the joint together.
The ball-and-socket joint lets your upper leg move at 3 degrees so you can do the following movements:
The most common reasons for damage to the joint or other tissues are:
There are also medical conditions that can weaken your hip joint. This can put you at a higher risk of injury, pain or stiffness. Common conditions that affect your hip joint include:
If you have issues with your hip such as those above, your health care team may start with other treatments such as medication or physical therapy. If the pain or discomfort isn’t getting better, or it gets worse and interferes with daily life, hip replacement might be an option.
A total hip replacement is a type of surgery that replaces your hip joint with an artificial one. This surgery is also called hip arthroplasty. Surgeons can do these procedures from behind the hip, from the side of the hip or from in front of the hip. Total hip replacement with anterior approach refers to surgeries done from in front of the hip. These surgeries also may be called mini, modified, minimally invasive or muscle-sparing surgeries.
Using the anterior approach may allow your surgeon to do the surgery through a smaller incision (cut). The cut is in the front of the hip rather than in the side or back, like in traditional hip replacements. Having your surgery done this way may have other advantages. These are:
Total hip replacement with anterior approach is not an option for everyone. You may have other surgical choices, such as total hip resurfacing. Talk with your health care provider to see what makes sense for you.
Anterior hip replacement surgery is not for everyone. But if you meet the following guidelines, you might qualify:
Other factors that affect whether you should get this kind of surgery include:
Any surgery can feel a little overwhelming. Your Norton Orthopedic Institute team will walk you through everything you need to know from start to finish. Here is a general overview of what you can expect:
After surgery, you will go to a recovery room to be watched while your anesthesia wears off. After your initial recovery, you will go to your hospital room. You should be able to start eating and drinking again slowly. You may need to wear stockings or plastic devices to help prevent blood pooling in your legs. You may be told how to do breathing exercises and coughing to help prevent pneumonia.
Your health care provider may decide to get an X-ray or another imaging test to look at your hip. You also may need tests to check your blood counts.
Your health care provider will tell you when it is OK to start moving around and when you can put weight on your leg. Depending on how you are feeling, you may go home the same day, or be kept in the hospital overnight.
You may be told what types of activities you can do and those you should avoid. As you start to get around, you may find that you need to use a cane or crutches. You also may need to work with a physical therapist to regain your mobility and strength. You should be able to do light activities within a couple of weeks. During this time, you may want to have extra help.
Keep all your follow-up appointments. Be sure to follow all your health care provider’s instructions. If you have external stitches or staples, you likely will have them removed about a week after your surgery.
Your artificial hip may wear out or loosen over time. Eventually, you may need another surgery. You may be able to extend the life of your implant by exercising regularly and taking precautions to avoid falls. You may need to take antibiotics before dental visits and minor surgical procedures. This can reduce the risk of infection to your new hip.
This short online assessment will guide you on next steps for your knee or hip pain. Find out if it’s time to talk to one of our orthopedic specialists.
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More patients choose Norton Orthopedic Institute for hip or knee replacements and other orthopedic procedures than any other health care provider in Louisville or Southern Indiana.
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