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Four Things to Know About Hip Replacement
The doctor will usually recommend a hip replacement when hip issues become inhibitive and reduce your quality of life. The hip is one of the body’s largest joints, bearing the weight and supporting movement. Replacing the hip with an artificial joint can help restore pain-free mobility and full function. The procedure is often used as a final resort when other interventions like medicine and physical therapy fail to yield productive results.
Facts about hip replacement
Patients planning to undergo a hip replacement procedure can prepare by learning more about what to expect. Important things to know include:
Different options are available
Most hip replacements involve complete replacement of the entire hip joint. However, the doctor may suggest partial replacement sometimes. This often involves removing and replacing the thighbone ball alone. The three regular types of complete hip replacement include cemented, uncemented, and hybrid, which combines both cemented and uncemented parts. Each option has its pros and cons, so it is advisable to discuss the most suitable option with the doctor.
The results can last between 15 to 20 years
Hip replacements ultimately deteriorate because the artificial joints do not have the same resilience as natural joints. There is a chance patients might need another surgery 20 years after undergoing a hip replacement. However, taking certain steps can extend the lifespan of the artificial hip. The first is to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the load on the joint. Being overweight increases the rate of joint failure. Regular exercises help to improve the strength and stability of the hip. It is important to avoid falls.
The risks are manageable
Hip replacement has a high success rate, but it is not without risks. The risks include infection, blood clots, implant failure, persistent hip pain, irregular leg lengths, and dislocation. The doctor might prescribe blood thinners (anticoagulants) for use several weeks after the procedure to prevent blood clots. Patients need to protect their hips by sleeping with a pillow between their legs and being careful not to cross their legs or bend the hips beyond 90 degrees during recovery. The doctor will provide detailed instructions for aftercare to ensure a successful recovery and minimize risk.
Physical therapy is necessary for complete recovery
Patients may need to remain admitted for three to five days after undergoing hip replacement. Recovery takes multiple weeks of physical therapy and rehab exercises. This helps to enhance the range of motion and joint function. A short stay at the rehab center may also be necessary after leaving the hospital. Patients might need up to six months for complete recovery and function. It is advisable to discuss with the doctor to know what to expect with the procedure.
Hip replacement procedures have a high success rate. Patients need to set realistic expectations for the procedure. It might take a while to get used to the new hip. Once recovery is over, you can return to your usual activities without experiencing pain, but you will need to avoid high-impact activities until recovery is complete.
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