A hip arthroplasty (replacement) can relieve pain and discomfort in one or both hips.Persistent hip pain can make even the most mundane tasks uncomfortable, if not unbearable. But in the event that conservative treatment options such as medication or physical therapy don’t help manage the pain, a hip arthroplasty (or hip replacement surgery) may be considered. This procedure can be performed on one or both hip joints and can allow patients to resume most normal activities, including low-impact exercise.
A hip arthroplasty procedure may be used to address damage caused by:
- Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that attacks joint cartilage and bones
- Hip fractures and similar injuries
- Osteonecrosis, or a joint deformity caused by a limited blood supply to the area
- A tumor in the hip joint
A hip arthroplasty involves the replacement of damaged bone and cartilage with a ceramic and metal prosthesis. The following actions are taken during the procedure:
- Diseased bone and cartilage are removed
- A prosthetic cup socket is implanted into the pelvic bone
- The femur’s ball joint is replaced with a ceramic ball
- The artificial joint is checked for proper range of motion before the incision is closed
Some patients are able to have both hips replaced in one procedure, but this approach is generally recommended only for patients who are otherwise in good health and can handle a more difficult recovery process.
What to Expect
Some patients who undergo a hip replacement are able to go home several hours after their surgery, but others will need to stay in the hospital for an additional day or two as they undergo observation. Potential risks of hip arthroplasty include:
- Blood clots
- Nerve damage
- Change in leg length
Once a patient is cleared to leave the hospital, he or she will begin a physical therapy program. Anyone undergoing the procedure should also make some adjustments to their home to account for limited mobility throughout the recovery process.
While high-impact exercise and activities may no longer be an option for patients who have undergone a hip replacement, the surgery will nearly always relieve joint pain. Patients who do not experience setbacks during recovery can resume some normal activities in six to 12 weeks. These patients should be able to get back to nearly all of their regular activities in six to 12 months.
Tampa General Hospital’s Orthopedics Institute provides minimally invasive, world-class and award-winning treatment for hip conditions and numerous other orthopedic conditions. Thanks to advanced muscle-sparing robotics, such as MAKO® Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology, surgeries require small incisions and spare surrounding tissues, leading to a shorter and less painful recovery compared to traditional surgery.