Hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a procedure reserved for patients who have severe hip joint damage or degeneration. The disability and pain from arthritis can impair your ability to perform daily activities and influence your quality of life.
How long does total hip replacement last?
In general, a total hip replacement lasts over 20 years. However, it is best to consider failure rates. If you have a total hip replacement, you have a 90-95% chance that the joint will hold up for 10 years, and an 80-85% chance that it will last for 20 years. As technology improves, these numbers will go up.
Are all joint implants the same?
The majority of joint implants are similar, with the AZ orthopedic surgeon using the design that works best, lasts longest, and has the fewest complications. However, the variable to consider is the bearing surface, which is the ball and liner that attaches to the stem and the cup that adheres to the bone. Balls may be composed of ceramic or metal, and the liner can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.
Which approach is best?
The surgeon may perform one of the following approaches:
- Posterior approach – This is the most common approach, and it involves surgery done from the posterior (back) region of the hip.
- Mini posterior approach – Done from the back of the hip with smaller incisions and less tissue trauma.
- Anterior approach – Performed from the front aspect of the hip.
- Lateral approach – Less common approach done from the side of the hip.
The Board Certified Gilbert orthopedic doctors at OSPI offer the anterior approach in a minimally invasive fashion. This reduces postoperative complications and speeds up rehab.
What type of anesthesia will I be given?
Hip replacement surgery can be performed using both general and regional anesthesia. With general anesthesia, the patient is put to sleep. With regional anesthesia (spinal, epidural, or nerve block), only a portion of the body is paralyzed. This type of anesthesia reduces complications and improves recovery time.
Is this a minimally invasive surgery?
Arthroscopic hip surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, which means smaller incisions and less tissue disruption below the incision. Less muscle cutting is involved with a minimally invasive procedure, as is less tendon detachment from the bone.
How big is the incision be and will it leave a scar?
The size of the incision depends on many factors, such as the patient’s weight and height, the surgeon’s requirements, and the complexity of the procedure. Smaller incisions mean less scarring. The scar will heal after a few weeks, and then change in appearance over time. However, most patients have a small scar for the remainder of their lives.
How long do I have to stay at the hospital?
Because hip replacement surgery involves anesthesia and immediate rehabilitation, you will stay at the hospital overnight, and possibly, for an additional 1-3 days. This depends on your rehabilitation protocol, how fast you progress, your age, your medical conditions, and the surgeon’s preference.
How soon before I can walk?
After a total hip replacement, most surgeons recommend that you get up and start moving immediately. Most people can walk with a walker the day following the procedure and with a cane in 2-3 weeks. Most people who undergo THA are able to fully participate in daily activities after 6 weeks. By the third month, many patients have regained strength and endurance and can fully participate in usual activities.
What can I expect with physical therapy?
You will receive physical therapy during your hospital stay, and for 1-4 weeks after you go home. Much of the therapy involves general stretching and muscle strengthening exercises, as well as learning to use assistive devices, such as the walker, cane, and hand held devices. The therapist works with you to return to work activities, but if you have a physically demanding job, you may have to wait 2-3 months.
What restrictions follow the surgery?
Depending your individual case (condition, type of surgery, extent of repair, etc.), you may have certain rehabilitation restrictions. Most surgeons give you instructions on which positions of the hip increase your risk for dislocation, and these positions should be avoided. After 6 weeks, the restrictions are lifted. In addition, you must avoid high-impact activities, such as long distance running, skiing, and basketball.