Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components. The hip joint is one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints, located between the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvis (acetabulum). It is a ball and socket joint in which the head of the femur is the ball and the pelvic acetabulum forms the socket. The joint surface is covered by smooth articular cartilage which acts as a cushion and enables smooth movements of the joint. Several diseases and conditions can cause damage to the articular cartilage. Total hip replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits your daily activities.

This month I will be focusing on Total Hip replacement surgery. I will discuss indications, eligibility and what determines the need for hip replacement.

Indications and Eligibility for Total Hip Replacement Surgery

People eligible for hip replacement surgery are adults of any age, although this surgery is mostly done on people between the ages of 60 and 80. They may have moderate to severe arthritis in the hip that causes pain and/or interferes with activities of daily living. General walking or going upstairs or bending to get in and out of chairs may be difficult. TA modern artificial hip joint is designed to last for at least 15 years. Most people have a significant reduction in pain and improvement in their range of movement.

What determines the need for hip replacement?

Hip joints that are deformed or damaged may require hip replacement surgery. Patients with osteoarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis can experience excruciating symptoms like hip or groin pain, stiffness, limping or even swelling and tenderness of the hip. Choosing hip replacement surgery can correct damaged joints before it’s too late while allowing you to regain your quality of life.

What is Arthritis and what are the associated symptoms?

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement. Vigorous activity can increase pain and stiffness which may cause limping while walking. Hip arthritis is a common cause of chronic hip pain and disability. Diagnosis is made by evaluating medical history, physical examination and X-rays. The three most common types of arthritis that affect the hip are:

Osteoarthritis: It is characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint. As the protective cartilage wears down, the bone ends rub against each other and cause pain in the hip.

Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the tissue lining the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed, resulting in the production of excessive joint fluid (synovial fluid). This leads to loss of cartilage causing pain and stiffness.

Traumatic arthritis: This is a type of arthritis resulting from a hip injury or fracture. Such injuries can damage the cartilage and cause hip pain and stiffness over a period.

What is the Surgical Procedure?

Total Hip Replacement surgery may be recommended if conservative treatment for chronic hip pain such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy does not relieve the symptoms. The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia.

During the procedure, a surgical cut is made over the hip to expose the hip joint where the femur is dislocated from the acetabulum. The surface of the socket is cleaned and the damaged or arthritic bone is removed using a reamer. The acetabular component is inserted into the socket using screws or occasionally bone cement. A liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal is placed inside the acetabular component. The femur or thigh bone is then prepared by removing the arthritic bone using special instruments, to exactly fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral component is then inserted into the femur either by a press fit or using bone cement. Then the femoral head component made of metal or ceramic is placed on the femoral stem. All the new parts are secured in place using special cement. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.

Life After Hip Replacement: What the Recovery Looks Like

You can’t expect to have a high quality of life if you don’t make wellness a priority. Your quality of life will change dramatically after Total Hip Replacement Surgery.

Around three months after your hip operation, most things will go back to normal. The pain goes away for most people. You’d still need to look out for signs of complications and continue being careful with how you move your hip. After 6 to 12 months, the recovery is considered complete.

Let me help you take back your quality of life. If you are concerned about your health or are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact my office at 021 850 6398 or to make an appointment.