Total Hip Replacement (THR)
Total Hip Replacement is a type of surgery that consists of removing damaged or diseased cartilage and bone from the hip joint and the subsequent replacement of it with an artificial prosthetic. As you may already know, the hip joint is quite large, and it bears a significant amount of our body. This is a balland-socket joint and it’s covered by an articular cartilage that acts as a shock absorbent and makes movement smooth and pain free.
The articular cartilage can suffer damage for many different reasons, but arthritis is perhaps the most problematic one. In fact, total hip replacement is meant to relieve arthritis-related pain that’s affecting your joint function and overall quality of life.
Arthritis is a general (umbrella) term for at least a hundred different variations arthritic joint diseases. These conditions cause joint inflammation, pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited movement.
There are three common types of arthritis that affect the hip and can lead to total hip replacement surgery, including osteoarthritis, traumatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease where the cartilage wears down continuously, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and traumatic arthritis is the result of trauma such as injuries or fractures.
Arthritis Symptoms & Diagnosis
Arthritis of the hip is characterized by symptoms such as persistent pain, tightness, and limited movement, as well as tenderness and swelling. This disease can be diagnosed by analyzing medical history, performing a physical examination, and running tests and scans.
Identifying deteriorative diseases such as arthritis can allow doctors to create an informed treatment plan to address their patient’s symptoms of pain and discomfort. If an arthritis diagnosis is validated, surgeons may suggest a few conservative and active treatment approaches that can mitigate the symptoms of chronic or severe arthritis.
Total Hip Replacement
As mentioned above, surgery can be recommended when your hip pain and discomfort begin to impact your quality of life. That’s where total hip replacement comes in.
This procedure requires the patient to be under general anesthesia and it consists of making a cut over the hip to expose the joint and the femur. The socket is cleaned, and the damaged bone is extracted. Then, the artificial acetabular is placed into the socket with the use of screws or bone cement, and a liner made of metal or ceramic is placed on the femoral stem. The muscles and tendons surrounding the joint are also repaired, and then the incision is closed.
Total Hip Replacement Post-operative Care
Special care is essential after your total hip replacement in order to prevent dislocation and to ensure proper healing. That’s why it’s so important to avoid strenuous movements or excessive stretching and rotation. Placing a pillow between your legs when you’re sleeping for at least six weeks will help protect your hip at night. Avoiding crossing your legs or bending your hips, avoiding low chairs and other movements that place excessive stress on your newly replaced hip joint should all be avoided until otherwise instructed by your physician.
Total Hip Replacement Risks
Because this is a major surgery, there are a few possible risks and complications, including infection, nerve or blood vessel injuries, dislocation, femur or pelvis fracture, pain, scarring, pressure sores, unequal leg length, etc.
No surgeon will perform an operation that carries a higher degree of risk than it does benefits (except for rare, life-threating scenarios). This is very much the case for total hip replacement surgery. Choosing the right surgical center will ensure that these risks are even further mitigated.