Traditional Hip Replacement
Hip replacement surgery involves surgically removing a painful hip joint
and replacing it with an artificial joint often made from metal and plastic
components. It usually is done when all other treatment options have failed
to provide adequate pain relief. The procedure should relieve a painful
hip joint, making walking easier.
What Happens During Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement surgery can be performed traditionally or by using what
is considered a minimally invasive technique. The main difference between
the two procedures is the size of the incision. Traditional, or standard,
hip surgery generally requires an incision 8 to 10 inches long.
During standard hip replacement surgery, patients are given general anesthesia
to relax the muscles and induce a temporary deep sleep. This prevents
feeling any pain during the surgery or awareness of the procedure. An
alternative to general anesthesia is spinal anesthetic to prevent pain.
A cut is made along the side of the hip and the muscles connected to the
top of the thighbone are moved to expose the hip joint. Next, the ball
portion of the joint is removed by cutting the thighbone with a saw. An
artificial joint is attached to the thighbone using either cement or a
special material that allows the remaining bone to attach to the new joint.
Any damaged cartilage is removed to prepare the surface of the hipbone
and the replacement socket part is attached to the hipbone. The new ball
part of the thighbone is then inserted into the socket part of the hip.
A drain may be put in to help drain any fluid. The muscles are then reattached
and the incision is closed.
Physical therapy usually begins the day after surgery and within days many
patients are able to walk with a walker, crutches, or a cane. You will
continue physical therapy for weeks to months following the surgery.