Understanding hip replacement surgery

Understanding hip replacement surgery

Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a common orthopedic procedure designed to relieve pain and improve mobility in individuals suffering from severe hip arthritis. "Through a combination of innovation, precision, and high-quality patient care, hip replacement surgery can be a transformative experience for most patients," says Erin F. Dunlap, MD, ARC Orthopedics hip and knee replacement specialist. "It liberates patients from debilitating hip pain, offering renewed mobility and a chance to reclaim life's joys."

What is a hip replacement?

A hip replacement is a surgical procedure aimed at replacing the damaged or deteriorated parts of the hip joint with prosthetic components. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, where the rounded head of the femur (thigh bone) fits into the acetabulum (socket) of the pelvis. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, or hip fractures can lead to the deterioration of the hip joint, causing chronic pain and impaired mobility. Hip replacement surgery aims to alleviate these symptoms and restore functionality to the hip joint.

What are the common causes of hip pain?

Hip pain can stem from various underlying conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis: The most common cause of hip pain, characterized by the degeneration of cartilage in the hip joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disorder causing inflammation and damage to the joint lining.
  • Avascular necrosis: Disruption of blood supply to the femoral head, leading to bone death and collapse.
  • Hip fractures: Resulting from trauma, injury, or weakened bones, often seen in older adults.

These conditions can cause persistent pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the hip joint, significantly impacting daily activities and quality of life.

Learn more about hip care at ARC.

Are all hip replacements the same?

While the fundamental goal of hip replacement surgery remains consistent across procedures, there are variations in surgical techniques and the types of implants used. Surgeons may employ different approaches, such as anterior, posterior, lateral, or minimally invasive techniques, depending on factors like the patient's anatomy and the surgeon's expertise. Similarly, there is a range of implant options available, including cemented or non-cemented femoral stems, most commonly paired with either a ceramic-on-plastic or metal-on-plastic ball and socket joint or bearing surface. The choice of approach and implant type is tailored to each patient's unique circumstances, ensuring optimal outcomes.

Learn more about hip replacement at ARC.

How soon can you go home after hip replacement surgery?

Advancements in surgical techniques and post-operative care have significantly reduced hospital stays following hip replacement surgery. "Hip replacement surgery has come a great distance in the last 20 to 30 years," said David H. Michel, MD, ARC Orthopedics hip and knee care and replacement specialist, in this recent video about hip pain and replacement. "Instead of one week in the hospital, almost 70 percent of patients are going home the same day. For those that do stay one night, you're up and working with physical therapy immediately after surgery, and you're able to put all your weight on the hip."

How long does it take to recover from a hip replacement?

The recovery timeline for hip replacement surgery typically involves several phases:

  1. Immediate post-operative phase: Patients may experience pain, swelling, and muscle soreness immediately after surgery. Pain management, physical therapy, and assistive devices such as walkers or canes are essential during this phase.
  2. Intermediate recovery: Over the next few weeks, patients gradually regain strength and mobility through structured rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy sessions. It's crucial to follow the prescribed exercise regimen and attend follow-up appointments to monitor progress.
  3. Long-term rehabilitation: Full recovery from hip replacement surgery may take several months, during which patients focus on gradually increasing activity levels, rebuilding muscle strength, and restoring range of motion. While most patients experience significant improvement in symptoms within the first few weeks to months, it's essential to continue with regular exercise and follow-up care to maintain long-term joint health.

How soon can you exercise after a hip replacement?

Physical activity plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process following hip replacement surgery. "While patients are encouraged to engage in gentle movement and walking as soon as possible after surgery, more strenuous activities and exercises should be gradually introduced under the guidance of your orthopedic surgeon," says Dr. Dunlap. Typically, patients can begin specific hip-strengthening exercises and low-impact activities, such as swimming or stationary cycling, within the first few weeks to months post-surgery. However, it's essential to avoid high-impact activities or heavy lifting until cleared by a healthcare provider to prevent complications and ensure optimal healing.

"If you're considering hip replacement surgery or experiencing hip pain, consult with a qualified orthopedic surgeon to explore your treatment options," says Dr. Michel. "The path to recovery can be yours with personalized care and expert guidance."

Make an appointment today

With a patient-centered approach, ARC Orthopedics prioritizes open communication, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing support to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients of all ages.

Take the first step towards a healthier you and schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Michel has a Fellowship in Adult Joint Reconstruction from Scripps Institute, La Jolla, California. He provides orthopedic services to patients older than 18 at three locations: ARC Medical Park Tower Orthopedics in Austin, ARC Cedar Park Building B, and ARC Round Rock.

Dr. Dunlap has a Fellowship in Adult Joint Reconstruction from Baylor Scott & White, Temple, Texas. She provides orthopedic services to patients older than 18 at three locations: ARC Medical Park Tower Orthopedics in Austin, ARC Southwest in Austin, and ARC South 1st in Austin.

Make an appointment through ARC MyChart or ARC Help Me Book or by calling one of the above clinics directly.

Tags: Hip replacement, Hip Arthroplasty, Orthopedic Procedure, Orthopedic Surgery