Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Replacement Surgery
What is total hip replacement surgery?
The traditional method of total hip replacement surgery – or total hip arthroscopy – is a time-tested approach that gives the surgeon a clear line of sight into the hip joint for an ideal fit and alignment. The hip replacement surgeon cuts muscle and soft tissues at the side and back of the hip to access the hip joint. Damaged cartilage is removed from the hip socket and the ball portion of the femur (thigh bone) is removed. The removed bone is replaced with either a metal or plastic hip joint attached at the femur with cement or a similar material. The removed cartilage is then replaced with an artificial hip socket, and the new hip joint is inserted into the socket.
I read about total anterior hip replacement surgery. Is that the same thing?
Anterior hip replacement surgery is an alternate method performed by a growing number of surgeons. With anterior hip replacement, the surgeon accesses the hip joint through the front of the hip, which has become popular because it’s not as invasive as the traditional approach, causing less damage to muscles and tendons.
What are the signs I might need hip replacement surgery?
If you’re experiencing hip pain, the physicians on staff at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery may suggest surgery if any of these signs exist:
- Pain that does not respond to medications and physical therapy for a prolonged time period
- Hip arthritis confirmed with an X-ray
- Debilitating discomfort preventing sleeping, moving, or working
- Fractures or tumors in the hip
- Loose hip prosthesis
- Some hip fractures
Is total hip replacement surgery right for you?
Diagnosing a hip problem can be complex because hip-related pain can be felt in other areas of the body, including the groin or thigh. So, it’s always a good first step to find out if you’re a candidate for total hip replacement surgery – or total hip arthroplasty – by making an appointment with an orthopedic specialist or hip replacement surgeon. Your doctor will take your medical history, and may ask questions such as:
- When did your hip (thigh, groin or back) first begin to hurt?
- Is the pain constant, or does it come and go?
- Did the pain begin after physical exertion?
Your physician will also perform a physical exam and X-ray your hip, and you’ll be advised on a proper course of treatment that may include total hip replacement surgery. Your doctor will recommend near-term steps to alleviate the pain that may include weight loss or getting more exercise., as well as treatment options like medications, injections or bracing.
What can I do to improve my chances for a good hip replacement outcome?
There are several things you can do to enhance the results of your surgery and make your recovery safer and more comfortable:
- Arrange for someone to help once you’re home, and remove belongs that may reduce tripping hazards
- Lose weight and change your diet, if advised to do so by your doctor. Remember that any healthy eating plan focuses on good nutrition. Malnutrition is one of the factors that will adversely affect healthy post-surgery
- Quit smoking at least six weeks before surgery because it can slow healing
- Ask your doctor about strengthening exercises to do before surgery to reduce healing time
- If you haven’t seen a dentist in the past two years or have loose or broken teeth, make an appointment to evaluate your dental health before surgery. A bad tooth is a type of chronic infection.