What are the benefits of hip replacement surgery?

Hip, Hip Pain, Self Care

 

Woman with hip pain on a benchChoosing to have your hip replaced is a major decision. Asking about the benefits is a good way to determine if hip replacement surgery is the right choice for you. During the decision-making process, there are several benefits to consider.

Hip replacement surgery can eliminate pain.

The main reason people have hip replacement surgery–and the major benefit of the procedure–is the ability to walk and move without chronic and excruciating pain.

Why is hip replacement surgery necessary?

Many times, it is the grating, bone-on-bone pain of osteoarthritis that leads people to investigate the possibility of a total hip replacement procedure. As the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip joint wears away, each weight-bearing step becomes more painful.

The total hip replacement procedure removes the diseased bone and cartilage that creates the ball and socket joint. In most cases, the ball of the joint at the head of the femur is replaced with a metal or ceramic ball. The socket is replaced with a plastic or ceramic cup. The construction works much like a natural, non-diseased hip joint.

Most people report their joint pain was either significantly reduced or completely eliminated. They say their new hip joint feels completely normal.

Hip replacement surgery restores movement and activity.

After recovering from a total hip replacement, many people resume the activities and hobbies they had before hip pain interfered. They enjoy biking, hiking, swimming, golf and other activities, again. Being able to move with less pain is a definite benefit of hip replacement surgery.

Hip replacement surgery reduces the risk of chronic health conditions.

Being active also results in long-term secondary benefits of the procedure. According to a March 2013 press release from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, people who had a total hip replacement had a reduced risk of heart failure, depression and diabetes compared to people who suffered from hip pain, but opted not to have the surgery.

What are the movement restrictions after a hip replacement?Older Couple Dancing

Depending on whether you had posterior or anterior hip replacement, your surgeon may give you several movement restrictions for the first few months to help you avoid dislocating your new hip after surgery.

  • You should not cross your legs after posterior hip replacement surgery. For instance, when putting on your socks and shoes, you should not bring your foot toward your body. 
  • You should not bend your hip more than 90 degrees. Generally, if your knee is below your hip joint, you are in a safe position. To maintain this position, avoid:
    • Deep cushions
    • Low seats
    • Picking up items off the floor while seated
    • Pulling up the blankets while you are in bed

These activities bend the hip joint more than 90 degrees.

  • If you had anterior hip replacement surgery, you should also avoid:
    • Bending backward (No hyperextension)
    • Turning your foot out
    • Lying on your stomach
    • Extending the operative leg behind you

As you progress in your recovery, your surgeon will give you permission to resume normal activities.

Many people are pleased with the results of their new hips. However, it is important to remember that hip replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure and comes with the inherent risks of major surgery, such as anesthesia, surgical complications and infection.

If your hip is causing you chronic and severe pain, contact your primary care provider or call Bone & Joint to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons. A brief visit and an examination are all you need to determine whether you are a candidate for a total hip replacement procedure.

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