The hip joint is the largest ball and socket joint in the body. Hip replacement is a surgical procedure, in which the doctor replaces a painful or damaged hip joint with an artificial joint. The procedure is beneficial in that it reduces pain the joint and enhances mobility. In most cases, a surgical replacement of the hip joint is as a result of arthritis. The artificial joint parts (prosthesis) used in this procedure are mainly made of plastic and metal. Additionally, the procedure is carried out where other treatment options have failed.
When is Hip Replacement Necessary?
The majority of hip replacement procedures are carried out to solve age-related complications. As such, the procedure is common among older adults, particularly within the 60 to 80 years age group. The surgical procedure is carried out to remove the damaged parts of the joint and replace them with artificial parts. Basically, there are various conditions that may necessitate the replacement of one hip joint or the two of them. The following are some of the conditions that may damage the hip joint and necessitate a replacement.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This happens when the immune system in the body is wrongly triggered to attack the hip joint. It leads to stiffness and pain.
- Osteoarthritis: This may also be referred to as the “wear and tear arthritis.” It happens when the cartilages within the joint are worn out. This causes the bones in the joint to rub against each other.
- Hip fracture: A bone fracture within the hip joint, resulting from a fall or an accident can lead to pain within the joint. A fracture may also restrict movement within the joint.
Any of the above-mentioned conditions can lead to unbearable pain within the joint and restrict movement. This will prevent you from carrying out normal daily activities. In such a case, hip replacement surgery is carried out to ease the pain, restore mobility in the joint and get rid of the discomfort.
Before a standard hip replacement procedure, you will be given a general anaesthesia. This relaxes the muscles and puts you into a temporary deep sleep, preventing you from feeling pain during the procedure. The surgeon then makes an incision on the side of the hip and moves muscles, connected to the thigh bone, in order to expose the hip joint. The thigh bone is then cut with a saw to remove the ball joint. An artificial joint is then inserted and connected to the thigh bone using cement.
The surgeon will then remove any damaged cartilages and attach the replacement socket to the hipbone. The surgeon will proceed to inset the ball portion of the thigh bone. A drain will then be put to drain fluids from the joint, before the surgeon attaches the muscles and closes the incision.
After the surgery, you will need a walking aid, such as crutches, for four to six weeks. It is also advisable to join an exercise programme that is specifically designed to train you and help you learn how to use the new joint. The healing period varies from one patient to the other. However, it will take you between three months and a year to resume your normal activities.
For years, this procedure has been proven to be highly effective in solving hip problems such as pain and immobility. If properly done, you should be able to resume your normal activities within a few months.