Having surgery is a big decision, but one that can be life-changing for the better. A hip replacement surgery is a safe procedure that can help relieve pain, increase range of motion, and allow you to get back to enjoying everyday activities. Modern techniques allow for smaller incisions, shorter recovery times, and longer lasting results.
If you are considering a hip replacement surgery, here is what you need to know about the different stages in the process:
Step 1: Making the right decision
There are several reasons why someone would consider a joint replacement. Most often, persistent pain and difficulty with regular activities is the incentive. Pain can be a symptom of arthritis or due to an injury. Surgery becomes an option when pain interferes with your daily life and other treatments, such as lifestyle changes and medication, do not help.
The first thing to do is consult your regular doctor. They will be able to tell you if you should consult a specialist . To prepare for your orthopedic consultation you should do some research about your condition and the surgical options. It’s also a good idea to have a list of questions for the surgeon. This allows the surgeon to address your concerns and for you to be better prepared for the next steps.
Once you’ve made the decision to have a surgery, make a pre-habilitation plan with the advice and help from your team of specialists. This includes getting your home, body, and mind ready for the surgery and the recovery period.
Step 2: What to expect from your surgery
The hip joint is imperative for bearing the weight of the body while standing, walking, or running. It is called a “ball and socket” joint, and is made up of the femoral head, a ball-shaped piece of bone which fits into the acetabulum, a socket in the pelvis. Between these surfaces there is cartilage which allows the bones to move smoothly.
During a hip replacement, the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetics. The prosthesis is made up of several pieces:
– A metal stem which fits into the femur, topped with a metal or ceramic ball
– A metal socket, sometimes kept in place with screws or cement
– A plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer between the ball and socket to allow for smooth movement
The current generation of prosthetics should last 15 years or even longer.
During the surgery, you will be given anesthesia. The choice is between general anesthesia (you will be put to sleep) or spinal, epidural, or regional nerve block anesthesia (you will be awake but numb from the waist down). This choice will be made during your pre-op consultation together with your surgeon.
Step 3: Taking time to recover properly
The recovery period is essential to the success of the whole surgery. The best outcomes are dependant upon following your surgeon’s instructions and performing your physiotherapy exercises. Remember to take your recovery step by step – patience and consistency yield the best results!
After surgery you wake up in the recovery room and are then moved to your room. Physical therapy begins a few hours after your surgery. If correctly following your recovery and physio plan, you should be able to resume normal activities within four to six weeks.
You can learn more about the patient process, including the stay after your surgery, at Duval Orthopaedic Clinic here .
*This article is not exhaustive and is not an official medical instruction document. Always speak to your doctor about how to best prepare for surgery.