Who needs a total hip replacement?
If you suffer from osteoarthritis and/or degenerative joint disease in your hip, and nonsurgical treatments haven’t been enough to relieve your pain and limited mobility, you may be a candidate. Signs you may need a total hip replacement include:
• hip/groin pain that keeps you awake at night
• hip pain while at rest
• hip pain that limits your ability to perform every day activities like getting up from a chair, climbing stairs, and walking
• nonoperative treatments haven’t relieved your pain, even after several months of treatment
If you think you may be a candidate, see an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation. Adults of any age may be considered for a total hip replacement. However, most total hip replacements are carried out on people between the ages of 60 and 80.
What happens during a total hip replacement?
Total hip replacement is carried out under general anesthesia (when you are completely asleep) or spinal or epidural anesthesia (when you are numbed from the waist down). During the procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision on the front side of your hip to remove diseased and damage bone and cartilage. Your surgeon will then replace these with a new prosthetic joint (ball and socket). In most cases, the surgery takes somewhere between one and two hours.
How do you recover?
Most total hip replacement patients stay in the hospital between 2 to 4 days. During this time, you will be given activities to perform to prevent blood clots from forming in your veins. A physical therapist will also prescribe strengthening and mobility exercises to help your joint heal properly and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
Before you are discharged, you must be able to get up out of the hospital bed and walk using a walker. Six to eight weeks after the procedure, most patients can walk without assistance and see significant improvement in their pain levels.
How long does a total hip replacement last?
If you have a total hip replacement today, you have a 90-95% chance that your joint will last 10 years, and an 80-85% chance that it will last 20 years. With improvements in technology, these numbers may improve.