Total Hip Replacement

What is a hip replacement?

A total hip replacement, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace a severely damaged hip joint. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. The acetabulum (socket) is a part of the pelvis bone. Attached to that socket, is the femoral head (ball) from the femur (thigh bone). The acetabulum is also surrounded by cartilage (hip labrum) to improve joint stability. In a total hip replacement, both the ball and socket will be replaced. In a partial hip replacement, the surgeon will replace the ball. The materials replacing the original joint components may be ceramic, metal and/or plastic. Additionally, a surgeon may use an anterior (front), lateral (side), or posterior (back) approach (incision) to access the hip joint depending on their preference and judgement. The surgeon will decide based on your age, damage severity, damage location, and overall stability of your hip joint.

Who needs a hip replacement?

Patients typically report severe pain and restricted mobility in their hip joint. This pain may be exacerbated by walking, going up or down stairs, standing up or sitting down in chairs, and be present at rest (especially while sleeping on the affected side), during exercise and day-to-day activities. Total hip replacement may be required in patients with severe osteoarthritis, hip osteonecrosis (lack of blood supply to hip), hip fractures, and overuse injuries (improper technique and excessive load). Others may need hip replacements in severe cases of femoroacetabular (hip joint) impingement, hip dysplasia (shallow hip socket), and tumour formations in the region. Patients who did not respond positively to non-surgical treatments like cortisone injections, physiotherapy, weight loss and other anti-inflammatory medications may be hip replacement candidates.

More about hip replacements...

90% of hip replacements are done on patients over 50 years of age and the majority are total hip replacements. The hip joint is the most vulnerable joint to osteonecrosis. Thankfully, patients have found that their hip replacements have lasted over 20 years after the initial surgery date. Because of the hip joint’s complex movements and role in weight-bearing, patient’s cooperation before, during and after the surgery as they enter the recovery process with their physiotherapy treatment is critical! Former runners must make cautiously return to the high-impact sport and avoid falls to prevent any dislocations or additional injuries after the surgery. Depending on the surgical approach used, the surgeon will remind the patient to avoid certain movements discussed below. Each kilogram of body weight places 3 additional kilograms of stress on the hip joint – maintaining a healthy body weight with proportionally more muscle mass is a must!

Life after hip replacements...

More information coming soon!