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Understanding Hip Replacements

A hip replacement is a surgical procedure that is completed by a healthcare professional with the goal of removing damaged sections of the hip joint, and replacing them with foreign parts that are usually created from metal and/or very hard plastic to create an artificial joint.  The artificial joint will ultimately result in decreased pain and improvement of function for the individual involved.  An individual may be a candidate for a hip replacement if the pain experienced interferes with their daily routines and activities they are expected and want to perform, only though after less invasive treatments have been deemed unsuccessful.  Damage to the hip joint from arthritis is the most common reason that one may need a hip replacement.

Causes & Considerations of Hip Replacements

  • This type of arthritis is developed as a result of wear-and-tear on the joints. It damages the cartilage that helps the joints move smoothly.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Results from an overactive immune system and produces a type of inflammation that works to erode the bone and cartilage, causing joints to become deformed.
  • In this condition the bone may collapse and become deformed from an inadequate blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint.
  • Pain that continues to persist despite use of pain medications.
  • Pain that worsens with walking, even with use of an assistive device such as a cane.
  • Observable changes in sleeping habits due to hip pain.
  • Decrease in the ability to climb stairs.
  • Difficulty rising from a seated position.

If an individual does undergo hip replacement surgery they should expect to either be given a general anesthetic or a spinal block, which will only numb the lower half of the body.  During the procedure the surgeon will make an incision and proceed to remove diseased and damaged bone and cartilage, while leaving all the healthy bone intact.  The artificial material will then be inserted into your pelvic bone to replace the socket that was damaged.  After surgery is over, individuals will enter recovery for a short time while the anesthesia wears off, where they will be closely monitored to maintain stable vital signs and a tolerable level of pain.

 

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After surgery there will be an increased risk of blood clots due to being immobile for a variable length of time.  Therefore, soon after surgery candidates will be encouraged to sit up and even try walking with an assistive device and supervision, of course.  Blood-thinning medications may also be prescribed after surgery just to prevent blood clots, depending upon your specific situation.

Individuals should also expect to participate in physical therapy services after a hip replacement to work on function and mobility with the goal of speeding up the recovery process.  Keep an open mind though, because recovery and improvement of strength in your new hip joint could take up to as long as 12 months.

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Even though the recovery period could last almost a year, it will definitely be worth it because the pain once experienced will be greatly reduced.  Individuals should expect the new hip joint to not only reduce their pain, but they will most likely notice an increase in the mobility of your new joint as compared to what was removed…which will allow for further participation once again in most of their daily routine activities.  However, individuals should not expect to participate in everything they once did because high-impact activity such as running will most likely be too stressful on the artificial joint.

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Ultimately, although hip replacement surgery comes with various risks…the reward of greatly decreased pain, along with an increase in mobility prove to outweigh the risks.  Individuals who can participate in their own daily routine as long as possible seem to have greater self-esteem and self-worth, which overall leads to a healthier and happier life.  Life is short, so if you are thinking a hip replacement may make yours better…do not hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider today to go over your options.

Since 1997 Allegro Medical has been a leading supplier of hip replacement supplies to healthcare providers and consumers.  If you are recently undergone a hip replacement, rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your hip replacement needs.

Dan works in Product Management at Allegro Medical with a focus on providing new and empowering products that help customers improve their quality of life.