A point at which two or more parts of bones are connected together is called joint such as knee, hip and shoulder. Joint replacement surgery is removing a damaged joint and replacing it with a new artificial joint. Hip is one of the largest joints in the body majorly made up of two parts:
1. The Hip Socket – a part of the pelvic bone called acetabulum.
2. Femoral Head - The upper end of the thighbone called the femoral head.
When the socket of the hip or the thigh bone is diseased or gets injured resulting in pain, difficulty in walking or doing everyday tasks such as bending or sitting, inability to lift the leg, hip pain while sleeping and it doesn’t subside with medications, physical therapy, braces or other supportive methods then the doctor may suggest hip replacement surgery. Surgeon will remove the diseased or painful hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint made up of metal, plastic or ceramic components.
Some of the common causes of hip pain are as following:
1. Osteoarthritis – a degenerative form of arthritis in which the flexible tissue at the ends of the bones wear down causing pain and stiffness in the hip. This is usually occur in people at the age of 50 and older adults or people having family history of arthritis.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis – this is an autoimmune disease that leads to joint inflammation also called inflammatory arthritis. This chronic inflammation damages the cartilage causing pain and stiffness.
3. Traumatic arthritis – damaged to the joint caused by serious hip injury or fracture. The cartilage may get damaged and lead to hip pain and stiffness.
4. Avascular necrosis – an injury that may limit the blood supply to the femoral head. The lack of blood causes the surface of the bone to collapse resulting in arthritis. This can also happen due to some diseases of the bone.
5. Childhood hip problem – hip problems treated during childhood can still cause arthritis in the later stages of life. This happens as the hip may not grow normally and the joints are affected.
Prior to the surgery, doctor would evaluate the patient’s health by carrying out necessary examinations and tests such as thoroughly check the patient’s medical history, physical examination of the hip mobility and alignment, blood tests, X-rays to determine the extent of damaged or deformed hip and some other tests such as MRI scan to check the condition of the hip bone and soft tissues.
During the hip replacement surgery, patient will be given general anesthesia to put the patient into temporary deep sleep. Surgeon will make a incision along the side of the hip and expose the hip joint by moving the muscles connected to the top of the thighbone. Surgeon will then remove the ball portion of the joint and attach the artificial joint to thighbone using special material. Surgeon will prepare the surface of the hipbone (removing any damaged cartilage) and attach the replacement socket part to the hipbone. New ball part of the hipbone is then placed inside the socket part of the hip. Surgeon will then close the incision after reattaching the muscles.
Patient may require staying at the hospital for 3-5 days post surgery and usually begin with their physical therapy a day after the surgery that can help them to walk with a walker, crutches or a cane for some days. They may continue with this physical therapy for weeks to months. Doctor may suggest some medications, a balanced diet, and light daily activities to recover fast.
Patient should immediately inform doctor if there is any infection in the wound or around the prosthesis, any blood clots formed in the leg vein or pelvis, dislocation or loosing of the implant.