Hip replacement, or hip arthroplasty, may be necessary for those with pain due to advanced arthritis or injury. Patients often find common activities such as walking, getting in and out of a chair, or putting on socks and shoes painful and difficult.
Hundreds of Hips Tell the Story
Even the slightest pain isn’t worth the impact it can have on your daily life — and our team is ready to help. Our surgeons work hard to help patients get back to doing what they love with less pain and more freedom, whether that means getting back to the sport you love, gardening, walking in your neighborhood, or exploring the beautiful trails of Eastern North Carolina.
Your joints are involved in almost every activity you do. Simple movements such as walking, bending, and turning require the use of your hip and knee joints. Normally, all parts of these joints work together to move easily, pain free. When the joint becomes diseased or injured, the resulting pain can severely limit your ability to move and work.
In a total hip replacement, a surgeon removes the head of the thighbone, resurfaces the hip socket and replaces the joint with a combination of metal, plastic, and/or ceramic implants.
If non-operative treatments are no longer effective, hip replacement surgery is a safe alternative that can relieve pain, increase mobility, and allow you to get back to enjoying normal, everyday activities.
Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful operations in all of medicine, with over 450,000 surgeries performed annually.
Total hip replacement is one of the most successful medical procedures and the most common type of replacement surgery. The surgeon removes and replaces the damaged femoral head. The damaged socket cartilage is then removed and replaced with a durable plastic or titanium socket, separated from the new ball by a plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer for a smooth gliding surface.
Revision surgery is for patients who have previously had a hip replacement. This surgery replaces some or all parts of a prosthesis inserted during a previous total hip replacement. While implant longevity will vary and depend on personal circumstances, a hip replacement typically lasts 15-20 years. Symptoms that may trigger a revision are the same as those for the original replacement, primarily pain.
In certain circumstances, anterior hip replacement may allow your surgeon to create a smaller surgical incision in the front of the hip rather than in the side or back. Frontal entry makes it possible to reach the hip joint by separating and reattaching muscles rather than cutting through them, resulting in potentially faster recovery times and a shorter hospital stay. The best surgical approach will vary on a patient-by-patient basis and will be evaluated by your surgeon.
What is a hip replacement?
Also called hip arthroplasty, hip replacement involves removing arthritic bone ends and damaged cartilage, then replacing them with prosthetic implants that replicate the joint. Hip replacement can help relieve pain and get you back to enjoying normal, everyday activities.
What are the reasons for total hip replacement?
Hip replacement is often a last resort for patients who:
- Have a painful, disabling joint disease of the hip from severe arthritis
- Have tried non-operative interventions without success
- Are not likely to achieve satisfactory results from other procedures
- Have a bone disorder, like osteonecrosis
How is a hip replacement performed?
In total hip replacement, the surgeon replaces worn joint surfaces with an artificial hip joint. The worn head of the thighbone is replaced with a metal or ceramic ball mounted on a stem; the stem is placed firmly into the canal of the thighbone at its upper end. The hip socket is prepared and implanted with a metal cup and plastic or ceramic insert. The ball and insert then glide together to replicate the hip joint.
Who should have a hip replacement?
Hip replacement surgery may be considered when:
- Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking and bending
- Pain continues while resting
- Stiffness limits your ability to move or lift your leg
- Conservative treatments provide little to no relief
Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. It may be time to consider surgery if you have little pain relief from other treatments, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or physical therapy.
How long is the hospital stay?
Your length of hospital stay will depend on your personal situation and whether the procedure is performed in an inpatient (typically hospital) or outpatient (typically hospital or ambulatory surgery center) setting. The average length of stay for an inpatient procedure is one to three days vs. an outpatient procedure that generally does not require an overnight stay. The length of your stay is going to vary per your unique circumstances, and your ability to partake and progress in physical therapy.
A case manager is normally assigned to help with your rehabilitation and discharge plans. Usually patients are discharged home from surgery, but your care providers will determine if home health or alternative post-operative care is necessary.
How long is recovery?
Recovery varies with each person. Typically, patients will take pain medication for a few days while healing. It is essential to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding home care during the first few weeks, especially concerning your prescribed exercise program. You will use a walker, crutches and/or cane for up to six weeks following your procedure. You should be able to resume most light daily activities within six to 12 weeks. Some discomfort during activity and at night is common for several weeks, and complete recovery can take from three to six months. While most people will gradually return to activities like golf, tennis, shuffleboard, or bowling, you should avoid more active sports and other high-impact activities.
What are the complications?
As with any surgery, there are risks of complications; however, they are relatively rare. Blood clots are one of the primary concerns post-surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe one or more measures to prevent a clot from forming. These measures may include a special support hose, inflatable leg coverings, and blood thinners.
What is the success rate?
Hip replacement is one of the most important surgical advances of this century, helping more than 450,000 Americans relieve their pain and get back to enjoying normal, everyday activities each year.
When will I be able to go back to a normal daily routine, such as going to work or driving a car?
This is a decision that only you and your orthopedic physician can make. However, there are some general guidelines that your physician may give you:
- Don’t tire yourself out — a good balance of exercise, rest, and relaxation is best for helping your body heal and gain strength.
- When to resume driving a car, going to work, and/or participating in sports activities are all highly individualized decisions. Be sure to follow your doctor or orthopedic physician and care team’s advice.
How long does a hip replacement last?
A hip replacement typically lasts 15-20 years. Implant longevity will vary and depend on personal circumstances, such as age and activity level, which are both considered when the surgeon helps decide which materials and techniques are best for you.
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