The hip is one of the most active and hardest-working areas of the body, supporting each person’s weight and providing dynamic functionality through simple and complex actions. When arthritis, overuse, or trauma causes this joint to wear down, lose mobility, and become painful, a hip replacement may be able to restore comfortable movement. Our extensively trained orthopaedic surgeons—Thomas Schott, MD, Mark Greenberg, MD, Bing Tsay, MD, and Kevin Honig, MD—utilize the most advanced minimally invasive procedures available. Our skilled medical team takes the time to carefully evaluate your needs, develop a customized treatment plan, and guide you through recovery for the most successful result possible. Don’t let hip joint dysfunction stop you from leading the life you want; talk to us today to learn more.
- Hip Replacement Candidates
- Best Age for Hip Replacement
- Hip Replacement Types
- Hip Replacement Recovery
- Pain After Hip Replacement
- Hip Replacement Precautions
- Exercises After Hip Replacement
- Hip Replacement Complications
- Hip Replacement Results Long-Term
- Special Instructions
Signs You May Need a Hip Replacement
Whether a hip replacement can improve your well-being is best determined during a consultation and after reviewing tests and imaging. That said, some of the signs that a hip replacement may be warranted include:
- You can no longer go through your daily tasks without assistance
- You experience significant pain, even with medication
- You feel discomfort or pain that keeps you awake at night
- Your mobility is reduced; you have difficulty walking or bending over
- Non-surgical and minimally invasive techniques have proven unsuccessful
- You’re experiencing serious side effects from medication you take to minimize your pain
- Tests show advanced arthritis and/or joint damage
Each person’s experience is unique, and not everyone will benefit from a hip replacement even if they have some of these signs. We can help you find the right approach for your needs and lifestyle.
What Is the Best Age for Hip Replacement Surgery?
While most hip replacement patients are between 60 and 80, the procedure can also be performed on those older or younger. In fact, young adults, teenagers, and even children may need hip replacement surgery in rare cases. The procedure tends to be more common in older patients since hip dysfunction and arthritis typically develop and progress with age. While being of a certain age is not a requirement for candidacy, it is always considered when determining the best treatment. A person’s symptoms and their health will also factor into the recommended treatment plan.
What Are the Different Types of Hip Replacement?
The purpose of hip replacement surgery is to remove the damaged cartilage and recontour the bone of the hip joint, replacing this tissue with an artificial joint. Our orthopaedic surgeons can perform this utilizing minimally invasive techniques, when appropriate, or for more severe cases, total hip replacement may be recommended.
Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery
Depending on the extent of the condition, surgery can include relatively minimally invasive procedures such as smoothing of the joints or re-alignment of bones. This approach preserves more of the natural tissue and typically requires no artificial implants. Small incisions are used to reduce downtime and the risk of complications. Some of the concerns that can be repaired or removed using arthroscopic techniques include: torn cartilage, bone chips, labral tear, bone spurs or growths, inflamed synovium, fractures, and torn ligaments. Minimally invasive hip surgery for ideal candidates can mean less scarring, a shorter hospital stay (potentially outpatient), and a faster recovery.
Total Hip Replacement
More severe cases of hip dysfunction or arthritis may require hip replacement surgery, or hip arthroplasty. The procedure involves removal of the top of the femur (thighbone) and the use of artificial implants to replace the “ball-and-socket” mechanism of the hip. These prostheses are designed to be durable and long-lasting and typically are made of metal and a biocompatible plastic called polyethylene. Hip replacement can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure, using only one or two small incisions. This typically allows patients to have an easier and quicker recovery process.
What Can I Expect in My Hip Replacement Recovery?
Hip replacement patients can typically return to their normal routine four to six weeks after surgery. However, every patient’s individual treatment plan will be tailored to their needs, so your recovery may vary from another person’s experience. Patients who have minimally invasive hip surgery can often return home the same day as the procedure, while people who have a hip replacement often require an overnight stay in the hospital for two or three days. Your surgeon will provide the details during your initial consultation.
For the first few days after the operation you will be asked to perform some ankle exercises to help optimize your recovery. Once home, additional instructions for activity will be provided. Follow-up appointments will also be scheduled before you leave the hospital. While some discomfort is to be expected, we will provide prescription medication to help make your experience as easy as possible.
How Long Does Pain Last After Hip Replacement Surgery?
Discomfort is normal after surgery as the area recovers, and most patients will have some temporary pain after their total hip replacement, though this can typically be well-controlled with pain medication. Pain after hip surgery is often related to the weak muscles responding to the new joint, as well as tissues beginning to heal. Any pain you experience should subside over the course of a few months. At this point in your recovery, you should begin to experience relief from your surgery and chronic hip pain.
What Precautions Should I Take After My Hip Replacement?
You will need to take certain precautions after your hip replacement surgery to protect your new joint. In your initial recovery, you may be advised to use a walker or cane to minimize the chance of a fall, which can damage or dislocate your new hip. To help you heal properly and improve your hip function, you will be instructed to perform certain exercises during your recovery. Since pain can make these difficult to perform, you should take pain medications or talk with your surgeon about other methods of pain management to make it possible to perform the recommended physical therapy.
Our team will provide you with a personalized list of instructions to help you adjust to your new hip. This may include a variety of lifetime restrictions to minimize your risk of dislocation and other complications. You may be advised to avoid certain movements like bending at the hips or knees more than 90 degrees, crossing your legs, and lifting your leg to put on your socks. If you have any questions about these instructions, your surgeon can further explain these lifestyle changes that may be needed.
Will I Need to Do Exercises in my Hip Replacement Recovery?
Physical therapy exercises are typically recommended after hip replacement surgery to aid in your recovery. Depending on the details of your surgery, you will be provided with specific exercises to perform, as well as instructions on how often these should be done. Potential exercises that may be recommended include ankle rotations, knee raises, buttock contractions, and walking. Your personalized exercises are an important part of your rehabilitation, and should help restore your proper hip movement while strengthening the area.
What Complications Are Associated with Hip Replacement?
As with any surgical procedure, hip replacement comes with some degree of risk. Our orthopaedic surgeons are extensively trained in minimally invasive and total hip replacement techniques, and they take every precaution to minimize the risk of complications. Certain complications can develop, however, soon after surgery and in the future. Potential issues that may present after total hip replacement surgery include blood clots, infection, injury to the nerves, and loosening of the prosthesis. More detailed information of what you should be aware of after surgery will be discussed before your procedure.
How Long Does a Hip Replacement Last?
Broadly speaking, most patients can expect their artificial hip to last between 15-20 years. Many factors contribute to the lifespan of a replaced hip joint. Your activity levels, age, medical history, and other considerations can play a role in how long your artificial hip lasts. Individuals with older models of hip replacements may notice a slightly lower lifespan, and those with newer devices may see a longer one. As technologies and techniques improve, these numbers may also go up. Depending on your age when you receive the hip replacement, it may be a lifetime device. However, many younger people, particularly athletes, are receiving hip replacements and it’s possible and even likely they may need a revision procedure later on in life. Our orthopaedic surgeons will discuss this possibility and its likelihood with you at your initial consultation.
In some instances, our surgeons may recommend that patients lose weight, stop smoking, or avoid the use of certain medications prior to the operation. This is designed to provide the safest experience possible. If you have any questions about your surgery or recovery, please don’t hesitate to contact our medical team for more information.
Contact our practice to learn more about hip surgery options or to schedule an appointment with one of our leading orthopaedic surgeons.