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Hip Replacement – Do I Have More Than Only One Option?

Each surgery has certain health risks. It is impossible to avoid risks completely. Learn more about hip replacement therapy and its associated risks.
Written by - Updated May 12, 2019
Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant. Istockphoto Images

Hip joint is one of the largest joints in the human body. It connects pelvic bones to the femur (osseous basis of the hip). The joint is constantly subject to the significant physical load, as it takes part in walking/running and carries the whole body mass.

In patients with obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or the traumatic hip damage the joint is worn out prematurely. This causes pain on movement and later on – pain at rest. The severity of pain gradually increases; it becomes resistant to the analgesics intake. Joint stiffness and swelling arise, the range of motions decreases. In this case hip replacement should be considered.

Performed in the specialized hospital and by the qualified doctor, replacement surgery avoids or reduces significantly all the worrying symptoms. Medical advances in the field of orthopedic surgery allow choosing total or superficial endoprosthetics, creating the 3D model of the desirable implant and performing minimally invasive interventions.

What happens during the hip replacement surgery?

The first stage of the hip replacement surgery includes careful examination and the individual prosthesis selection. In patients with clinically significant joint deformity, osteoporosis or femur neck fracture the total hip replacement is the most suitable option. In young patients with high level of physical activity and preserved femur, a surgeon may consider more up-to-date superficial arthroplasty (McMinn surgery).

Regardless of the type, a surgery requires anesthesia. This may be a general anesthesia or a spinal one (you will stay awake in this case). Once you do not feel any pain, doctor makes a skin incision and forms surgical approach to the affected joint. This may be a front or back approach. In minimally invasive techniques size of the incision is no more than 3-4 centimeters.

The damaged joint is removed and the prosthesis is placed instead. In case of the total hip replacement, the femur neck is substituted with the prosthesis as well. In superficial arthroplasty according to McMinn technique, own bone is preserved, which has few long-term health benefits.

After the prosthesis fixation with surgical cement or by the cementless method, the skin incision is closed with metal surgical staples or stitches. A sterile protective dressing is put on the affected joint site.

What happens after the hip replacement surgery?

Immediately after the surgery a patient is taken to the recovery room or, in case of complications, to the ICU for the closer monitoring. Doctors will control your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Later on, the early phase of rehabilitation starts. The implant need to work, otherwise it will not substitute the joint function completely. A cane or walker may be used during the first days, until you improve your balance and walking ability.

The comprehensive exercise plan will be elaborated for following both in the clinic and afterwards, at home. First, you will perform all the activities under the surveillance of a physical therapist. Postoperative pain will be managed with the painkillers intake, so this will not become an obstacle for trainings.

Usually you will need to stay at the hospital for 2-3 days. After this, you may continue the orthopedic rehabilitation in the specialized center or return home. In both cases the physical therapy will go on till restoring the full range of motions and the muscle strength.

Staying at home, you should pay attention to the surgical area – it should stay dry and clean. Skin stitches will be removed at the doctor’s office, during the follow-up visit. In presence of the residual pain syndrome, you may continue the painkillers intake (a doctor will recommend you the most efficient drug). The first follow-up visit should be scheduled between the 4th and 6th weeks after the discharge. Then you will visit doctor in 3-6 months and annually afterwards.

Normal And Arthiritis Joint

Normal Hip Joint and Hip Joint with Arthritis. Hopkinsmedicine.org

Are the risks of hip replacement surgery inevitable?

Each surgery has certain health risks. It is impossible to avoid risks completely, but they can be significantly lowered. The main health risks in hip replacement surgery include:

  • Intraoperative or postoperative bleeding.
  • Infectious complications.
  • Blood clots formation.
  • Injury of functionally important nerves or large blood vessels.
  • Instability or dislocation of the prosthesis.

In modern European clinics all these health risks are minimal. Thus, bleeding is prevented by the control of clotting factors, minimally invasive surgical approaches, and blood vessels coagulation. This is also helpful in preventing the blood clots formation.

Infectious complications are extremely rare due to absence of the hospital-acquired infections, state-of-art aseptic and antiseptic measures, and special systems of the operating rooms ventilation.

Nerves and blood vessels are preserved due to careful surgery planning and preliminary 3D reconstruction of the desirable result. Sparing these important structures leads to better functional outcomes. The artificial joint has good blood supply and is perceived as the own one.

Stability and proper placement of the implant are ensured by the informative imaging investigations (e.g. CT scan), using individually manufactures prostheses and precise adjustment of the implant to the patient’s femur and acetabulum. Modern prostheses have long service life, up to 15-20 years.

Also ReadKnee and Hip Joint Pain

How to get ready for the hip replacement surgery?

Regardless of the prosthesis type and invasiveness of the surgical approach, hip replacement requires preliminary preparation:

  • Pass the necessary preliminary tests, including lab tests, ECG and X-ray examination.
  • Discuss with your doctor all the medications that you take continually (e.g. aspirin, NSAIDs) and allergic reactions.
  • Do physical exercises in order to strengthen the thigh muscles and buttocks.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Normalize the body mass, if necessary.
  • Take care about the postoperative period – prepare your house, find someone to help you during the first few days.

Getting Ready For Surgery

Getting ready for Hip Replacement Surgery. Istockphoto Images

If you want to undergo hip replacement in the specialized hospital abroad, preparation will also include a number of administrative aspects. You should receive the invitation for treatment from the desired clinic, take care about visa and the trip planning. When visiting the hospital abroad for the first time, it is more convenient and time-saving to use the help of the professionals in this sphere – Booking Health.

As the certified medical tourism operator, Booking Health will provide you with reliable medical information about specialized orthopedic hospitals and therapy modes, help to have an appointment without being on a long waiting list, control all the expenses and avoid additional fees (saving up to 50% of the medical program cost), ensure the independent medical support 24/7, take care about flight, accommodation and interpreter.

Should you leave the request at the official website of the company, bookinghealth.com, and our medical advisor will contact you the same dap.

Author

Contributor : Melissa Feldman (Joint Health Magazine)

Melissa Feldman writes about a range of lifestyle topics, including health, fitness, nutrition, and the intersection of them all. She has undergraduate degrees in both teaching and psychology. She spent almost 20 years writing and designing English as a Second Language educational materials, including several textbooks. She has presented the cumulative research of many health topics ranging from dietary supplements to joint pain relief products and topical pain reliever. She is skilled at writing compelling articles and producing academic, marketing and creative content. Melissa currently lives in Toronto, Canada and works as an independent research writer. She has more than a decade of experience reviewing and editing publications intended for both public and professional audiences. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

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