Hip Replacement Surgery on the Horizon? Here’s What to Expect
Few people look forward to undergoing a major surgery. People suffering from hip pain due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis do, however, look forward to relief from debilitating hip pain, improved mobility, and a better quality of life. If your orthopedic doctor is recommending a standard hip replacement surgery, here’s what you can expect.
During The Surgery
As with any major surgery, an anesthesiologist will administer general or spinal anesthesia so you’ll drift into a deep sleep during the procedure. Once the anesthesia takes effect, you won’t feel or hear anything.
To access the diseased or damaged hip joint, your orthopedic surgeon will make a 6 to 8 inch long incision on the side of your hip, gently move away the surrounding muscles, and then slice through your thigh bone with a very sharp instrument to remove the ball section of the joint. The surgeon will use a prosthesis that your bone grows directly into to attach the artificial hip joint in its place.
The next phase of the surgery involves excising any damaged cartilage and attaching the artificial socket portion of the joint to your hip bone. The artificial ball portion is inserted into the artificial socket portion to complete the hip replacement surgery. The surgeon then returns the muscles to their proper position and uses sutures to close the incision.
After the Surgery
Assuming that your surgery goes as expected and there are no complications, expect to remain in the hospital for three days. As the new joint heals and “sets” you’ll rest with a wedge-shaped pillow between your legs to keep it stabilized. Most patients are surprised to learn that physical therapy may begin as soon as the day of surgery. The goal is to get you up and walking (with the assistance of a walker) as soon as possible.
Once you leave the hospital, your recovery will continue at home as you continue walking short distances with your new hip and slowly wean yourself off of pain medications. You will begin regular physical therapy and be assigned daily at-home strengthening exercises to speed recovery. Most patients are able to walk without pain within 6 weeks and are deemed “fully recovered” (able to work and perform routine daily activities without hip pain) within 6 months.
You may not be looking forward to the hip replacement surgery and the relatively long recovery time, but in the grand scheme of things these inconveniences are a small price to pay for such a huge improvement to your quality of life!
If you dream of being able to climb stairs, drive, walk, and swim without hip pain, Greater Austin Orthopaedics can help you get your life back; we encourage you to contact us. The skilled orthopedic surgeons at our South Austin, Southwest Austin, North Austin, and Lockhart orthopedic clinics will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery. If you are, you can rest assured that your hips are in great hands with our dedicated, compassionate Austin Texas orthopedic surgeons.