The Naked Truth about Hip Replacement Surgery


No matter how hard a person tries to take care of his body, it is bound to succumb to ‘wear and tear’. This is especially true as one age. All too suddenly, you start feeling and looking differently. Lines start appearing on your face, gray hairs start growing amidst your head full of hair, hairlines start receding, skin starts sagging, and nimble limbs and bones become fragile and brittle.

Speaking of fragile bones, though, it seems people, regardless of age, are prone to certain conditions affecting their bodies. Arthritis, rheumatism, and the likes are just some of these. Sometimes, arthritis affects a particular part of the body and creates unbearable pain, that the only possible solution is surgery.

For instance, a painful hip joint might be an indication that a person has hip arthritis. If this condition worsens, hip replacement surgery would be the only way out. That sounds downright scary, doesn’t it? However, this procedure wherein a surgeon surgically removes the arthritic hip and replaces it with an artificial joint made from metal and plastic components is usually the last recourse. The doctor would advise this when all other options have failed to alleviate the pain caused by the arthritic hip or the patient would risk not being able to walk properly (if at all) ever again.

Now you’re probably wondering how this procedure is normally done. Well, it’s actually up to the patient. He may choose to undergo the traditional procedure or he might want to consider a minimally invasive technique, which differs from the other mainly because of the size of the incision. The standard procedure requires an 8-10 inch incision along the side of the hip while the newer technique requires one to two incisions that are 2-5 inches long. Moreover, with the newer technique, there is less blood loss, reduced scar appearance, more bearable pain post-surgery, shorter hospital stay, and faster recovery. Nevertheless, if the patient wants to find out more about the surgery in the hopes of making the right decision, it would be best if he watched a hip replacement surgery video first.

Just like any other surgery, general anesthesia is administered during the standard hip replacement surgery to put the patient in a temporary deep sleep. The numbing agent would keep the patient from feeling any pain once the surgeon makes an incision along the side of the hip and moves the muscles that connect to the thighbone to expose the hip joint. The thighbone will then be sawed off to remove the ball portion of the joint. Afterwards, the surgeon will attach the artificial joint to the thighbone using cement or a specially formulated adhesive that allows the remaining bone (the real one) to attach to the new joint.

The surgery doesn’t end there. The surgeon still needs to prep the surface of the hipbone to remove any damaged cartilage (if there is any) and attach a replacement socket part to the hipbone. Then, he will insert the ball portion that was attached earlier into the socket part of the hip. In case of fluid buildup, the surgeon would make sure to drain it well before reattaching the muscles and closing off the incision.


fit, just hip perfect

Post-surgery, a patient may have to stay in the hospital a maximum of six days with a wedged-shaped cushion between the legs to keep the new hip in place. To make sure that the replacement hip is working as it should be, physical therapy commences the day after surgery, and within days, the patient may start walking again using crutches or a cane. However, he should continue with the physical therapy for weeks or months after the surgery to strengthen the artificial hip.

The doctor may advise the patient to refrain from doing certain activities or limit bodily movements for anywhere from six to twelve months after the hip replacement surgery. While this may seem uncomfortable and may put the patient out of his comfort zone, it is imperative that he listens to the doctor’s advice as it is for his own good.

Nevertheless, there are certain things a patient and his doctor must watch out for after surgery. For instance, the legs of the patient may not be of equal length anymore after the surgery. Crossing the legs or sitting too low may be dangerous, too, as both movements may dislocate the joint. Severe breathing problems may also occur when pieces of fat in the bone marrow become loose, enter the bloodstream, and get into the lungs. The replacement parts may also be prone to infection. Therefore, it’s important that the patient talk to his surgeon about the possible risks before fully deciding to undergo the hip replacement surgery.