Total Hip Replacements

Total Hip Replacement Overview

Total hip replacement is an advanced and effective orthopaedic procedure. It treats a variety of hip conditions and injuries that cause pain and decrease hip function and quality of life. Hip pain patients are encouraged to make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedics and Neurological Associates’ (CONA) hip specialist to find out if total hip replacement is an appropriate treatment option.

How is a total hip replacement performed?

A total hip replacement is an inpatient procedure performed under regional or general anesthesia. A CONA specialist:

  1. Begins surgery. Soft tissues are delicately retraced. The hip joint is visualized.
  2. Prepares the joint. Diseased and damaged bone is removed. Remaining bone is smoothed and prepared for implants.
  3. Creates a new hip. A perfectly sized stem is bonded to the hallow part of the femur (leg bone). A plastic ball is placed and secured on the stem. A metal socket is bonded to the pelvic acetabulum. A plastic spacer is placed and secured in the socket.

Dissolvable sutures close deep and superficial tissue layers. Skin staples close the skin. A sterile dressing is placed over the surgical site. A comfortable hip immobilizer holds the hip in anatomical position to reduce pain and discomfort. Total procedure time is 1-2 hours.

What conditions can total hip replacement treat?

Total hip replacement treats:

  • Avascular necrosis
  • Hip fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Posttraumatic arthritis

Total hip replacement may be recommended when:

  • Symptoms do not respond to nonsurgical and minimally invasive treatment options
  • Symptoms make everyday movements difficult and decrease the quality of life

Surgical candidates are usually patients who are in good physical condition and have no injuries or illnesses that could negatively affect results. Because implants usually last about 20-30 years and are not easily replaced, age can play a factor in candidacy. Most candidates are 55 or older.

What are total hip replacement advantages?

Total hip replacement benefits many patients. Advantages include:

  • Dramatically improved quality of life
  • Improved hip strength, function, and flexibility
  • Pain relief
  • Quick recovery

Patients are able to do activities and jobs they previously could not because of pain and other symptoms.

What is total hip replacement recovery like?

A 3-5 night private room hospital stay occurs. Pain is monitored and infection risk is minimized. Physical therapy is started on the day of the procedure. A CONA specialist sees the patient for the first follow up appointment after about two weeks. Skin staples are usually taken out at this appointment. Follow up appointments occur at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. Strength and flexibility are accessed and x-rays are taken.

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