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Definition of a hip replacement surgery

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure where adamaged section of the hip, is replaced with anartificialone, known as the prosthetic implant to help reduce pain and improve functionality. The prosthesis is usually made up of a metal, ceramic or a hard plastic. The objective of the surgery is to ultimately relieve a painful hip joint and make movements for walking easier. Hip replacement surgery is carried out in two ways;

  • Total hip replacement
  • Hemi (half) replacement

To whom and when is hip replacement surgery advised?

Hip replacement surgery is a major and sophisticated surgery, therefore, not everyone is advised for surgery.  Hip replacement surgery is done only when conventional therapy such as physiotherapy or steroids are no longer helpful,and in conditions of excessive pain, even while resting and when one is unable to perform any normal daily activities. Considering the above factors, people of all ages can undergo hip replacement surgery, if required, however, it is mostly carried out in people between the ages of 60 to 80 years.

Hip replacement surgery is advised topatients suffering from excruciating pain who find it difficult tomove and interference with sleep and restriction of day to day activities. Most common conditions that necessitate hip replacement includes;

  • Osteoarthritis- It is a condition where the bones rub each other, due to the loss of cushioning ability of the cartilage, as it is worn away. This causes stiffness and hip pain.
  • Osteonecrosis- Also known as avascular necrosis, is a condition where there is an insufficient supply of blood supply to the hip joint. This causes the surface of the bone to collapse and lead to arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- It is an inflammatory auto-immune disorder which is chronic in nature. It causes pain, swelling,and stiffness of the hip Due to the inflammation, the cartilage can erode resulting in damaged and deformed joints.
  • Septic arthritis- A condition caused due to infection of the joints. Also known as bacterial or infectious arthritis.

What happens before, during and after a hip replacement surgery?

Certain measures are to be taken before, during and after the surgery. These include:

Before surgery:

  • Your medical provider will provide consultation and will review your medical history and current medications.
  • The patient may have to undergo few tests such as blood test, electrocardiogram, chest x-rays, etc.
  • Medications such as blood thinners and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs need to be stopped a week or two before surgery. Smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking are also stopped a week or two before surgery.

During surgery:

  • The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
  • It can be done either traditionally or by a minimally invasive technique. In both the techniques, an incision is made in the hip and the damaged bone is then removed and replaced with a prosthesis.
  • The incision made in a minimally invasive technique is comparatively smaller than in the traditional technique. There is also a reduction in blood loss and post-operative pain.




After surgery:

  • The patient is taken to a post-operative recovery center, where blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration are monitored.
  • Painkillers and antibiotic may be given as per the clinical protocols.
  • The patients are mobilized after the pain subsides and are allowed to be discharged depending on the health status.

What is the recovery time after a hip replacement surgery?

Total recovery time would depend on various factors and may differ considerably from patient to patient. Any underlying medical conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, the weight of the patient etc would significantly affect the recovery time of the patient.

Recovery of patients with hip replacement is seen to be sooner than those with knee replacement, however, it is also seen to differ considerably from patient to patient. Some patients may take only a few weeks to recover while for others it might stretch up to 6 months to completely recover. The average recovery time observed is 3 to 6 months with no underlying complications.

What are the rehabilitation process required after a hip replacement surgery?

The objective of a rehabilitation program after a surgery is to enhance the recovery duration and strengthened muscle strength and to reduce the problems of bed sores. The ultimate goal is to enable the ability to walk well, as they were able to before they suffered a hip fracture. Common rehabilitation process include;

Pain management- several ways to minimize pain include;

  • Correct movement
  • Correct posture
  • Electrical devices
  • Ice pack application

Exercises- it is an essential step for fast recovery from the surgery. There are three levels of exercise-initial exercise program (normally 4 to 6 weeks after surgery), intermediate exercise program and advanced exercise program. Common exercises include;

  • Hip and abdomen strengthening program
  • Leg raises
  • Press ups
  • Regular walk
  • Sciatic nerve glide
  • Wall squats

Education and training- A physiotherapist will provide sessions on physical therapy, the right way to executing the exercises and postures to maintain after surgery

What are the expectations of a hip replacement surgery?

Hip replacement surgery is not the first line of choice for the treatment of an injured hip, however, this is carried out after a series of tests and investigations and in situations where conservative remedy such as medication and physiotherapy is not functioning.

It is a difficult decision to make, whether to undergo a hip replacement surgery or not. Therefore, it is beneficial and essential to discuss the options with an orthopaedic surgeon to decide the right course of action.

After a hip replacement surgery, it is expected that the pain and discomfort are reduced. There is an improvement in movement and ease in carrying out daily activities. In most situations, successful treatments use a combination of approaches that are tailored to individual needs, lifestyle, and overall health. The potential benefits achieved with hip replacement are:

  • Ability to move better
  • Increased ability to carry out daily activities like climbing stairs, squatting, walking etc
  • Pain is reduced

Additionally, as the recovery is different from patient to patient, hence, the discharge time will also differ.Some people may go home soon or after few weeks post-surgery, while others may need to stay back longer.


How to choose a hospital for hip replacement surgery?

Being a major surgery, the choice of a hospital should be made after thorough consideration. It is important that ample weight be given to a hospital that has a full complement of specialized healthcare professionals including surgeons, anesthetist, nurses, dietician, physiotherapist etc. Joint replacement surgeries are ideally performed by an “Orthopedic surgeon”. While considering a hospital, it is also important to determine the availability of necessary infrastructure for carrying out surgery and management of any unexpected complications during and after the surgery.

Some factors that should be considered are:

  • Availability of well-equipped operation theatre.
  • Availability of expert and an experienced surgical team of anesthetists, nurses and paramedical staffs and experienced orthopedic surgeons, especially if minimally invasive surgery is being considered
  • Post-operative care: Trained medical team to prevent, identify and manage postoperative complications like infections or ensure uneventful recovery. Provision of an aftercare for physiotherapy, experienced in joint replacement surgery
  • Pharmacy and diagnostic centers are available at any time of need.




What affects the cost of hip replacement surgery?

The cost of surgery is governed by several factors, such as

  • Availability of skilled and specialized surgeons and advanced hospital set-up
  • Material and brand used for the implant, which governs the cost
  • The medical condition of the patient that affects the number of days stay in the hospital
  • Category of room availed as some hospitals of differential pricing billing policy
  • Time is taken for recovery
  • Usage of medications and additional investigations

To know more about hip replacement surgery, you can request for a callback and our experts will call you and answer all your queries.


Disclaimer: The shared article is only for awareness and education purpose. Readers are advised to consult their doctor for proper evaluation of the condition and more information. Do not self-medicate.

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