Are you researching the possibility of hip replacement surgery? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Academy Orthopedics, we are experts in hip replacement and can show you the important details you need to consider when deciding on a total hip replacement, a minimally invasive total hip replacement, anterior total hip replacement or any other options available to you.
We’ll cover the various types of hip pain you may be experiencing, the reasons that people get a hip replacement surgery, and what you can expect if you do decide to go that route. Additionally, we’ll explain what sorts of exercises and other activities can help to restore your strength and movement so you can get back to living your best life. We’re excited to go on this journey of wellness with you.
What Is Hip Replacement?
Your hip is one of your body’s largest and most important joints. If that joint suffers damage to the extent that all other treatment options fail to give you pain relief and functionality, there are medical options to replace the hip. A hip replacement is a surgery in which the damaged cartilage and bone of your body’s existing hip are replaced by metal and plastic parts. These prosthetic parts will take the place of your original hip joint; relieving pain, allowing you more mobility, and giving you a better overall quality of life.
Traditional Hip Replacement Surgery vs. Hip Arthroscopy
There are two popular options when it comes to hip surgery: traditional hip replacement surgery (total hip arthroplasty) and hip arthroscopy.
Traditional Hip Replacement Surgery: If you choose the traditional surgery for your hip, a surgeon will make a 6″ to 10″ incision near your hip. This incision allows the surgeon to have a clear view of your hip while performing surgery, which helps them make sure the hip replacement is aligned and fits well. While those elements are important, they do come with some disadvantages. A traditional hip replacement surgery means that the surrounding soft tissue and muscle are more susceptible to damage. Additionally, since more tissue is cut during the procedure, the recovery time can be as long as 6 to 12 months total.
Hip Arthroscopy: This technique allows the surgeon to be able to see your hip joint without making a large incision through your skin and soft tissue, meaning it is a minimally invasive surgery. Instead, your surgeon will insert a miniature camera (called an arthroscope) into your hip joint. From there, your actual hip is displayed on a video monitor using a direct feed from the camera. This allows the surgeon to make much smaller incisions, using the camera to get to address issues like a hip labral tear, loose bodies, and hip impingement disorders. Due to the less invasive nature of this procedure, patients can experience faster recovery times, less stiffness, and less pain overall. This is also why a hip arthroscopy is known as minimally invasive hip surgery.
Why Do People Get Hip Replacement Surgery?
There are many reasons that the hip may become damaged. But when a hip joint is damaged or worn to the point of constant pain and a major loss of mobility, hip replacement surgery may be considered.
Chronic Pain Is Nothing to Ignore
Chronic pain is more prevalent in the United States than you might think. What many people don’t realize is that chronic pain is not just physically impairing, but can also be a heavy emotional and economic weight to bear.
Too often people try to just “live with the pain” or wait until their hip pain “gets worse” before seeking professional help. If you’re suffering from chronic hip pain, consider calling us at Academy Orthopedics to talk it through today.
Hip Replacement Surgery Diagnosis and Occurrence
Adults of any age are technically candidates for hip replacement surgery, though the surgery is most often performed on people from the ages of 60 to 80 years old. It’s important to note that any hip replacement surgery is considered major surgery, so it’s not often the first course of treatment recommended. Typically a person will first try things like medications, physical therapy, steroid injections and other options to reduce hip pain and increase mobility.
Some of the most typical causes of hip damage are the different forms of inflammatory arthritis. The two most common arthritis types are:
- Osteoarthritis – Usually associated with over-use and wear-and-tear of the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – An autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation, thickening of the joint capsule and erosion of the cartilage.
There are other conditions that are known as arthritis, but are not related to typical inflammatory arthritic conditions. Instead, these are known as traumatic arthritis. These conditions are less commonly caused by aging and usage and are instead most often related to arthritis caused by injury. The most frequently seen are:
- Post-traumatic arthritis – By and large caused by a serious hip fracture or other hip injuries. Hip fractures often occur when older people take painful falls. In addition to the pain they have to deal with from their fall, arthritis can develop, causing ongoing chronic pain.
Other causes of hip arthritis include:
- Childhood hip disease/Developmental hip dysplasia – This arthritis typically occurs in adults who had hip problems as infants. Even after treatment at an early age, they’re more susceptible to arthritis when they become adults.
- Osteonecrosis/Avascular necrosis of the hip (AVN) – Thisis when an injury to the hip limits the blood flow to the femoral head. The lack of blood can cause the surface of the surrounding bone to weaken and collapse, leading to arthritis.
Other health issues that could result in a total hip replacement are:
- Bone Tumors – Tumors are formed when cells divide abnormally, and when they form, they can weaken parts of the body (such as the joints and bones of the hip).
- Fractures – When a hip is broken from a hard fall or another injury or condition, it may need to be replaced. It’s a little known fact that broken hips don’t heal on their own and require surgery in almost every case.
The Necessity of Hip Replacement Surgery
For anyone with irreversible hip joint damage, hip replacement surgery is an excellent option to get you back to the active life you deserve. Total hip replacement is a major surgery and the orthopedic surgeons at Academy Orthopedics can help guide you for the best treatment options.
The Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery Procedure
Evaluation for Hip Arthroscopy
Your evaluation for a hip arthroscopy should be thorough and conducted by qualified doctors, such as orthopedic surgeons. These well-versed experts will talk through various specifics that are unique to you as an individual. It typically includes (but is not limited to) some of the following:
Physical Exam: A physical exam will be given to assess how badly your hip is damaged and how much mobility you have. Additionally, they’ll test the alignment and strength of your hip.
X-rays: X-rays (and sometimes other imaging techniques such as MRI) are used to visually asses the amount of space between your ball and socket, seeing how much cartilage you have intact. This will give a clear image of the extent of your hip damage and any deformities you may be suffering.
Additional Tests: In some cases, other tests will be conducted to ensure that you get the best personal evaluation possible. For example, things like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can give a more in-depth idea of the health of your soft tissue and hip bones.
Your Medical History: Every patient is unique, so of course, your doctor will also assess your general, overall health. Detailed questions about your medical history and any previous hip surgery can give doctors the best overall idea of whether a total hip arthroplasty or minimally invasive hip surgery is right for you.
Once you and your doctor decide to undergo your hip replacement, there are things that need to take place before surgery. Here are some common things that might need to occur before you have surgery.
Weight Loss: For some patients who are overweight, it may be optimal to lose some weight before having even minimally invasive surgery. Dropping a few pounds will make the surgery is safer overall and minimize the amount of pressure and stress on your new prosthetic hip.
Dental Check-Up: It might seem strange that you may need a dental check before hip surgery, but it may be required. It’s not common knowledge, but bacteria can enter your blood during major dental procedures. Things like periodontal work and tooth extractions are not safe during or for a period after your minimally invasive hip replacement because if bacteria enters your bloodstream, it can cause infections in your new hip. For this reason, if you think you may need dental work done soon, it’s best to have it done before your minimally invasive hip replacement. Additionally, your annual cleaning shouldn’t take place until several weeks after the surgery.
Surgery and Recovery
If surgery is the path for you, then you’ll be prepared by your care team about exactly what will be expected. When it comes to Academy Orthopedics, we take great care to ensure all of our patients understand and are comfortable with what will occur during their procedure.
Our hip joint replacement surgery will typically take 1 to 2 hours. During this time one of our experienced orthopedic surgeons will remove the damaged bone and cartilage, and then replace it with your new prosthetic hip.
When the surgery is complete, you’ll be transitioned to a recovery room where our team will monitor you closely, giving you the very best care until your anesthesia wears off.
You will then be put on a personalized home care plan built for you by your orthopedic surgeon. This plan will be explained to you and/or your loved ones and caregivers in detail and is a pivotal part of your recovery.
Ongoing Lifestyle After Hip Surgery
After your successful surgery, it’s time to slowly get back to your life now that you have a new hip. As you begin to heal and recover, your chronic hip pain will be a thing of the past.
There are a few things to consider as you begin your pain-free lifestyle:
- Directly after surgery (and for a short period following), you may notice that the area where the surgery’s incisions were performed on your skin may feel numb.
- There’s a chance that your new hip (depending on what it’s made from) will set off metal detectors in places like airports, theme parks, etc. You can proactively tell anyone that you have an artificial hip prior to walking through the detector.
- Your new hip may feel stiffer than your old hip – especially when it’s bent. This sensation often decreases over time and with physical therapy.
- You’ll want to be more careful than ever to avoid any new injuries so you won’t need any other hip replacements.
- You will continue to see your doctors for routine follow-ups on your new hip to ensure that you can live your best life with no complications.
Academy Orthopedics Is Here For You
Here at Academy Orthopedics, we are here for all of your orthopedic needs – especially our experts at total hip replacement. Our board certified orthopedic surgeons take a patient-first approach, which means you are the most important thing to us – to us, you’re a part of our family.
As a smaller, physician-owned operation, our doctors, nurses, and support staff are able to give you the face time you need and deserve with shorter wait times. We’ll do everything in our power to ensure that you can get pain relief and mobility in your hip through minimally invasive techniques that will have you back to your life and doing what you love most as quickly as possible.
We’re here to talk about your hip pain and treatment options at any time. You matter to us. Give Academy Orthopedics a call at 770-271-9857 or contact us online, and we’d love to set you up for a consultation!