Hip Replacement Surgery
Arthritis or traumatic injury to the hip can cause pain, deformity and stiffness that can severely limit daily activities. Hip replacement surgery can alleviate that pain and restore the normal alignment of the hip, allowing you to move easily.
Your hip is made up of two basic parts that move and work together to ensure smooth motion and function. When arthritis affects the joint and the cartilage that cushions the hip wears away or is destroyed, the hip joint requires replacement.
The materials used in your artificial joint are very strong and are designed to last a very long time inside your body. Your orthopedic surgeon will consider many factors, like age, bone density and the shape of your joints to determine the exact kind of hip replacement you’ll receive and how it will be inserted.
What is Hip Replacement?
Patients with joint deterioration caused by conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, severe injury and bone tumors find relief and what many call “a new lease on life” through partial or total hip replacement. Improvements in hip replacement have sped along at such a fast pace, you may not know that:
- Most patients are up walking and home from the hospital the same day or next day after surgery
- Current hip implants are estimated to last 20 years or longer due to improvements in the implant materials and the technology that surgeons now have for achieving precision sizing and positioning of the implants.
- If you are in good overall health, you can expect to do almost every activity you did before experiencing hip pain, including dancing, hiking and even jogging.
During hip replacement, the surgeon removes the diseased bone tissue and cartilage from the hip joint. The healthy parts of the hip are left intact. Then the surgeon replaces and resurfaces the bones in the joint with new, artificial parts, recreating the smooth gliding surfaces that were once intact. This creates a smoothly functioning joint that does not hurt.
A total hip replacement is an operation that removes the arthritic ball of the upper thighbone (femur) as well as damaged cartilage from the hip socket. The ball is replaced with a metal ball that is fixed solidly inside the femur. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal liner that is usually fixed inside a metal shell. This creates a smoothly functioning joint that does not hurt.
Results of hip replacement will vary depending on the quality of the surrounding tissue, the severity of the arthritis at the time of surgery, the patient's activity level and the patient's adherence to the doctor's orders.
Hip Replacement Technology
At Memorial Hermann, patients have access to leading technologies and surgical techniques in hip replacement, including MAKOplasty® and an anterior approach to hip replacement.
MAKOplasty is performed using RIO®, the Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System. RIO provides three-dimensional modeling to help your surgeon plan your procedure, and it gives the surgeon real-time feedback during surgery to ensure accurate implant placement and alignment.
MAKOplasty total hip replacement allows for increased precision and accuracy of surgical technique, thus decreasing the risk for post-operative complications, promoting implant longevity and improving the ability to restore appropriate leg length.
- Enhanced joint stability and mobility
- Smaller incisions
Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement
In the anterior approach to hip replacement, the surgery is performed from the front, or anterior side of the leg, and the joint is accessed by going around muscle rather than cutting through it.
- Less trauma to surrounding muscle structure that supports the joint
- Fewer post-surgical precautions
- Fewer activity restrictions
- Shorter hospital stay
- Quicker recovery
Hip Revision Surgery
We frequently see patients whose hip implants have reached the end of their lifespan. Oftentimes these prosthetics were made at a time before the durable materials we now use were available. Through hip revision surgery, our surgeons replace these implants with new ones. Sometimes the implanted structures are sound and it is only necessary to replace the lining of the socket, making for a shorter surgery and quicker recovery.
This surgery is also necessary in some cases of joint infection, or if a replaced hip joint has loosened or pops out of joint recurrently, causing pain. If the joint is infected, the surgery takes place in two stages so the infection can be treated with antibiotics before the new implant.
Am I a Candidate for Hip Replacement Surgery?
With the advances that have radically improved surgery and recovery, hip replacement has become a fairly common solution and one of the most reliable treatments in any area of medicine to chronic hip pain. Take a look at the statistics:
- Over 2.5 million Americans are living with a hip replacement
- Over 2.3 percent of the over-50 population has had one or both hips replaced
- Over 6 percent of Americans 80 and over have had one or both hips replaced
For the right patient, they can be a game-changer. Based on your exam, X-rays and history, your orthopedic surgeon will decide if you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery. In addition, your orthopedic surgeon will ask you to decide if your discomfort, stiffness and disability justify a surgery. If conservative, non-operative methods are controlling your discomfort, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend waiting on the surgery.
Talk to a physician about hip replacement surgery if you can answer yes to any of these questions:
- Are you having hip pain that keeps you awake, or awakens you at night?
- Does persistent hip pain and disability interfere with daily activities (walking, lifting yourself up, climbing stairs, exercising, shopping, etc.)?
- Have you tried other treatments like walking aids such as a cane, or nonsurgical therapies such as medication and physical therapy?
Before deciding whether hip replacement surgery is right for you make an appointment with a qualified orthopedist to explore all of your options. Many patients wait too long to see a doctor. “If you wait too long, there may be other health issues we need to consider. The patient is also extending the months, and possibly years, of chronic pain,” adds Dr. Parsley. “Many times I have heard a patient say after joint replacement – ‘I feel great! Why did I wait so long to take care of this?’”
To schedule an appointment with an orthopedist in your area, call 713-272-1888 or schedule an appointment online.