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What is a hip replacement?

Hip replacement is a surgical operation in which a surgeon removes a hip joint that causes pain due to arthritis and replaces it with an artificial one made of metal and plastic parts. In general, hip replacement is the last option to perform when the other treatment options have failed to deliver positive results. After the procedure, the patient’s pain is relieved making them walk easily.

Hip Replacement Surgery

Doctors can perform hip replacement surgery either in a traditional way or by implementing the so-called “minimally-invasive” technique. The size of the incision the major difference between the two surgical procedures.

When a patient undergoes hip surgery, s/he is given general anesthesia which relaxes muscles and puts them into a temporary deep sleep. By doing this any feelings of pain during the procedure or being aware of the surgery are prevented. Alternatively, patients may be given a spinal anesthetic in order to prevent the pain.

Hip replacement recovery

During the recovery period after having surgery, you will probably remain in the hospital for nearly a period of a week. As you stay in bed you will likely have a wedge-shaped cushion between your legs which will keep your new hip joint intact. In addition, you will probably have a drainage tube placed in your bladder which will support your bathroom needs.

Generally, after the surgery, patients will begin to have physical therapy sessions which usually takes place the day following the procedure. Later, within some days, you will be able to walk with a walker or a cane.

Note that, you should avoid any pivoting or twisting on the involved leg nearly for a year following hip replacement surgery. You need to refrain from doing movements like bending forward at the waist and squatting.

You will be provided with the necessary techniques and adaptive equipment by your physical therapist. This will help you to follow the guidelines mentioned above in order to recover as soon as possible. It is strictly recommended that you follow the guidelines set by your physical therapist which would otherwise lead to dislocation of your newly repaced hip joint by doing improper movements.

Furthermore, even after if you fully recover from the operation, you will still need to avoid performing certain sports and heavy, intense activities.

Types of hip replacement

Traditional hip replacement

The traditional method of performing hip replacement is carried out by making a 10 to 12-inch incision on the side of the hip. When muscles are split from the hip, the surgical team dislocates the hip in order to be able to fully review it.

The surgeon then removes an injured femoral head by replacing it with a metal stem which is put into the hollow center of the femur. The procedure is continued by the placement of the ceramic ball on the upper part of the stem.

The injured cartilage surface of the socket is taken out and changed with a metal socket. Sometimes the process requires the implementation of screws or cement for holding the socket in place.

Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

Generally, the surgical procedure is similar to the previously mentioned, however, in minimally invasive total hip replacement the patient experiences with less cutting of the tissue which surrounds the hip.

Normally, the surgeon uses the same artificial implants used for traditional hip replacement operation. However, for minimally invasive hip replacement operation, the surgical equipment that is necessary to prepare the socket and femur and as well as to place the implants correctly is designed in a special way.

Total hip replacement

In last years, total hip replacement has become an increasingly widespread technique in order to address the need for enhancing hip joints which have been injured by a number of conditions. When all the other methods of treatment show no result, physicians advice joint replacement surgery to deliver the best way for long-term improvement.

Total hip replacement is  performed in steps that the ball at the top of the thigh bone and the hip socket is replaced.

Some exercises to be performed after hip replacement

  • Ankle pumps

Start by slightly pushing your foot up and down. You will need to keep repeating this movement for a number of times, as frequent as every 5 or 10 minutes. You can begin doing this exercise after your surgery and keep performing it until you fully recover.

  • Ankle Rotations

Try moving your ankle inward toward your other foot. Then move it outward from the other foot. Keep repeating the exercise 5-6 times in each direction. You can do it 3 or four times a day.

  • Knee bends (bed-supported)

Try sliding your foot toward your buttocks, while bending the knee and holding your heel on the bed. Avoid letting your knee to roll inward. Keep your knee in a max bent position about 5 to 10 seconds before straightening again. This exercise can be repeated  10 times in 4-5 sessions throughout the day.

Following the hip replacement surgery, you will be out of bed and eventually be able to stand without a need for walkers or crutches after some days. However, you will need support, until you regain strength, at the beginning to stand independently.

Walking in a proper way is the best option to help you recover fast. Please note that at first you will need to have a walker or crutches to walk.

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