Hip Replacement

Candidates for Total Hip Replacement Surgery:

Total hip replacement may be appropriate for people who have severe hip pain resulting from arthritis or other hip disorders. Normally it is considered after other options such as medication or therapy are no longer effective in controlling pain and improving mobility. Candidates for total hip replacement surgery should be in generally good health and not severely overweight. While in years past the operation was normally performed only on people over the age of 50 or 60, new, more durable materials have made total hip replacement surgery a viable option for some younger patients. Nearly 200,000 total hip replacement surgeries are performed in the United States each year.

The Total Hip Replacement Procedure

During total hip replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will make an incision over the hip to reveal the hip joint. Next, he or she will remove the head ball part of the joint from the top of the thigh bone, or femur. After that, the orthopedic surgeon will prepare the socket (acetabulum) and place a new metallic socket with a liner. A metallic stem will be placed down the femur and a new head ball placed onto the stem. This creates a new ball-and-socket joint. Your orthopedic surgeon will choose the materials for your implants based on proven track records, your age and level of activity. Typically, the prostheses are implanted without the use of bone cement. The surface of the implants has a special design that allows bone to grow into the prosthesis, providing a secure attachment. Total hip replacement surgery takes approximately one to two hours, but may vary based on anatomy and complexity.

Your surgeon will choose the surgical approach that is best suited for each patient. Emory orthopedic surgeons specialize in less invasive hip replacement techniques (such as the direct anterior approach and mini posterior approach) that can minimize tissue disruption, enhance stability, reduce post-operative pain and lead to a quicker recovery.

Total Hip Replacement Surgery Recovery

After total hip replacement surgery, you will most likely stay in the hospital for just one or two days. You will be given antibiotics for a short duration before and after surgery to minimize the chance of infection. In the majority of cases, full weight bearing is allowed immediately after the operation. Most people can begin physical therapy the day of surgery and begin walking with a walker, crutches, or a cane. You will continue therapy exercises for several days to several weeks following your operation. The vast majority of patients experience an increase in the range of motion of their hip and a significant reduction in pain. In fact, most patients are relatively pain-free once they are completely healed. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a total hip replacement has an 80% chance of lasting at least 20 years.