Hip replacement surgery (also known as total hip arthroplasty) consists of a procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon in which the painful hip joint with arthritis is surgically removed, and replaced with an artificial joint that is usually made from plastic and metal components. Hip replacement surgery is resorted to mainly when all other treatment options have resulted in little success, and pain relief has not been provided to the patient, and is particularly useful in cases in which the hip has either been fractured, or dislocated. The purpose of the hip replacement procedure is to relieve a painful hip joint and making walking more convenient and easier for the patient. Ultimately, this surgery results in the replacement of one’s hip joint.
Hip replacement surgery can take place in either a traditional manner, or through a minimally invasive manner too. The crucial difference between these two lies in the size of the incision created. In a standard hip replacement surgery, one is given general anesthesia for the relaxation of their muscles, and to put the patient in a temporary state of deep sleep. Then, a cut shall be made along the side of the hop and to move the muscles connected to the top of the thigh bone for the exposure of the hip joint. Following this, the ball portion of the joint is then removed through the cutting of the thigh bone with a saw. After this, an artificial joint is then attached to the thigh bone through the use of either cement of a special material allowing the rest of the bone to attach to the new joint. The surface of the hipbone is then prepared, and the replacement socket is attached to it. The new ball part of the thigh bone is then inserted into the socket of the hip. Lastly, the doctor then reattached the muscles and ends up closing the incision. In the minimally invasive approach, doctors usually make one or two cuts which are 2 to 5 inches long. The same procedure as mentioned above is performed through these cuts as with standard hip replacement surgery.
The following side effects can potentially take place after a hip replacement surgery: Since the patient will not be able to move around much initially once the surgery is completed, blood clots are a potential concern. Secondly, one’s legs might not be of equal length after the surgery, and pieces of fat present in the blood marrow might become loose, enter the bloodstream and come inside the lungs resulting in very serious breathing problems. Adding on, nerves in the hip might be injured from swelling or pressure and can potentially cause some numbness. Lastly, the replacement parts might become loose, break, or even become infected.
It is possible that some patients might require a bilateral hip procedure – a surgery in which simultaneously, both hips are replaced in one operation on the same day under the use of one anesthesia. This takes place in situations in which there is severe arthritis causing severe pain and stiffness in both the hips.
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