Hip Replacement FAQs
What is a total hip replacement?
Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the hip are replaced with man-made components. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple pleasures like walking and shopping unbearable. Hip replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to normal life.
Who is a candidate for total hip replacement?
Hip replacement surgery may be considered for those suffering from arthritic hip pain that severely limits the activities of daily living. It is only recommended after careful examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and only after more conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy and medications have proven ineffective.
What kind of implant is best?
There are many kinds and designs of hip implants available today, and no one design or type is best for every patient or situation. Each surgeon selects the implant that they believe is best for the patient’s needs based on a number of factors including age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have specific questions regarding implants, your surgeon will be happy to answer them for you.
How long will I be in the hospital?
With improvements in surgical techniques and post-op care, it is now common for many patients to be able to go home from the hospital after two or three days. Of course, each patient is different, but the goal should be for you to recover in the comfort and privacy of your own home as soon as possible.
What are the risks?
Even though hip replacement surgery is considered a very successful procedure, it is major surgery. As with any surgery, there are risks. Possible complications include:
- Blood clots in your leg veins
- Implant loosening
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Hip dislocation
- Change of leg length
Your surgeon and healthcare team will be taking great care to minimize the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind that complications are relatively rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
How long is the recovery period?
Once again, this can vary from person to person. Driving may be possible in 2 to 3 weeks, and activities such as golf and bowling can be resumed in as few as 10 to 12 weeks. Some activities such as singles tennis and skiing are not recommended after hip replacement. Most people will be able to go straight home from the hospital. Some patients, particularly those that live alone, may need to spend a few days at a rehab center or nursing home. Keep in mind that healing and recovery times can vary.
How much does total hip replacement hurt?
You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will be doing everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible. Pain after hip replacement surgery is not entirely predictable and varies from person to person. Modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control pain and discomfort after surgery.
Will I need a blood transfusion?
Your surgical team will be doing everything possible to minimize bleeding, but some blood loss after joint replacement is unavoidable. Whether or not a blood transfusion is required will depend greatly on highly individualized factors, including your condition prior to surgery, cardiac history, age, etc.
What if I have other questions?