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If you have pain in or around the hip joint, or referred pain from the hip joint, you may have trouble with everyday activities like getting dressed or bathing. Whether you are just exploring the idea of hip surgery or you have already scheduled the procedure, here are some things you should know about this very common procedure.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The “ball” is made of the top of the thigh bone (femur), which fits into the “socket” of the pelvis bone. The bony surfaces are coated with cartilage, covered in membranes and connected to other bones and muscles with ligaments. This allows the joint to move freely.
Damage from injury or a medical condition can result in pain, lack of range of movement, stiffness and mobility issues. Your health care team might start your treatment with nonsurgical options for hip pain. If such treatments are not effective, you may be a candidate for hip joint surgery.
The goal of hip surgery is to relieve pain and restore function. There are two types of hip replacement surgery:
In a total hip replacement, surgeons make a cut (incision) in the front (anterior) of the leg, rather than the back. This helps most patients recover faster and with less pain, because key muscles are not detached during the surgery. The anterior approach also uses a smaller incision to help reduce scarring.
Average recovery time for anterior-approach hip replacement surgery is two to eight weeks, instead of the typical two to four months with conventional surgery.
Which type of surgery you have will depend on many factors, including:
While no two hips are the same, there are some situations that make you more likely to be a good candidate for total hip replacement surgery. Those include:
You may not be a good candidate for total hip replacement if you:
A total hip replacement is considered the gold standard for hip joint surgery. However, you may not need or be eligible for this type of procedure. You may be a good candidate for a partial hip replacement if you:
A partial hip replacement is not as consistently successful as a total hip replacement, but your health care team will help make the determination about surgery.
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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.
Risks associated with hip replacement surgery can include:
Sometimes, the artificial hip parts can wear out. This can be common in people who have hip replacement surgery when they’re relatively young and still active. If this happens, you might need a second hip replacement. New materials, however, are making implants last longer.
Once you and your health care team have decided on hip surgery, you will be given instructions on what to do before surgery and what to expect afterward. Norton Healthcare is committed to making you as comfortable as possible during your stay.
Your preoperative testing will be scheduled within 30 days before your surgery. Tests include a medical evaluation, blood samples, electrocardiogram, stress test, chest X-ray and urine sample. The tests will show the doctor how ready your body is for surgery or whether you have any conditions that may need special attention before moving forward.
You will also discuss:
You may lose some blood during your surgery, so you may wish to donate blood for yourself in case it’s necessary. Your surgeon may recommend taking iron supplements before surgery, which can help build your blood supply and reduce the need for a blood transfusion.
Excess body weight can increase your risk of infection and other complications. Our providers can help you to determine what is a reasonable and realistic weight loss goal for you. You should be able to achieve this goal through reduced calorie intake and regular physical activity.
There are several small changes you can make that may make surgery recovery easier.
In addition, light exercise prior to surgery will help strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joints, which may also make recovery easier.
Hip replacements are performed at a hospital. Often you can go home the same day as your surgery. Sometimes you might need to stay a night or two for observation or to resolve complications.
A typical, uncomplicated total hip replacement surgery has the following steps.
Often you can go home the same day as your hip surgery. Sometimes you will stay in the hospital for a few days. It will depend on how well you can walk in the hours after.
Recovery is a gradual process. Walking and physical therapy exercises will help speed your recovery. Here’s what to expect at certain time increments after your surgery.
Not long after her hip replacement surgery, Liz was jumping in the leaves with her 5-year-old grandson. She is also back to attending Jazzercise classes every day.
Read Liz’s Story
This depends on the type of work you do, as well as your own recovery progress. If you have an office or desk job, you can expect to return after four to six weeks. With more physical jobs that require lifting, extensive walking or travel, you might need up to three months to recover fully. Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to work and whether there are limitations.
In most cases, you will be able to resume driving about four weeks after surgery. To drive, you must be off pain medications. However, you should not drive a car or any other motor vehicle until your surgeon says it’s OK to do so.
It’s important to keep your new joint moving. However, you should return to normal activities gradually. You will be instructed by your joint replacement care team to avoid specific positions and activities that could put stress on your new joint. Avoid high-impact activities, and consult your surgeon before participating in a new exercise routine or a physically demanding sport.
Staying in touch with your health care team is critical to your recovery. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments, follow the doctors’ guidelines and let them know if you have any questions or concerns.
We care for thousands of people with hip conditions every year. That means our providers have the commitment and experience to give you a precise diagnosis and treat your condition with sophisticated techniques that can get you moving again with less pain and fewer complications.
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