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New Year, New Hip: All You Need to Know About Hip Replacement

When you have been suffering with chronic hip pain for a long time with minimal relief from conservative treatments, you may need a hip replacement. Learning all you can before surgery can make the experience less overwhelming.

If you’ve had chronic hip pain or injuries that aren’t getting better, and you’re ready to explore the option of hip replacement surgery, Dr. Duncan McKellar Jr. and the skilled orthopedic surgeons at Alpha Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are ready to help.

Why do I need a hip replacement?

There are many reasons you may be facing hip replacement surgery — one of the most common is arthritis. Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis are the two main kinds of arthritis that break down the hip, causing pain and loss of function.

You may have also suffered a hip fracture or dislocation, that caused permanent damage to your joint.

Another reason you may need a hip replacement is that conservative treatments have failed.  You may have tried many conservative treatments such as:

When your hip pain interferes with your daily activities and pain persists, it may be time to consider surgery.

If your hip pain bothers you so much that you’re unable to sleep, unable to walk upstairs or get up from a seated position, and pain persists even with pain medications, a new hip may be in your future.

What to expect from surgery

The goal of a hip replacement is to remove the damaged sections of tissue and bone in the hip joint and replace them with an artificial joint or prosthesis. This artificial joint is made of either metal, ceramic, or hard plastic, and sometimes a mix of all three.

Before your surgery is scheduled, you meet with your surgeon who orders blood tests, X-rays, or an MRI, and discusses the risks associated with surgery and a care plan for after surgery. You’re asked to sign a consent form for surgery, as well, and this is a good time to ask questions if something isn’t clear.

During surgery, you’re under general anesthesia and won’t be able to feel anything. The surgeon makes an incision and takes out the damaged bone and cartilage. The surgeon then inserts the prosthesis that’s made up of a stem that fits into your thigh bone, the ball joint, and a cup that fits into your hip socket. After fitting the prosthetic hip, it may be cemented together or connected using a porous surface.

The amount of time you’re in the operating room varies. When your procedure is over, you’re taken to the post-anesthesia care unit, where you wake up and recover. We may want you to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery for observation and pain management.

While you’re in the hospital, your pain is controlled with pain medications. Our physical therapist meets with you soon after surgery to start mild exercises that ensure proper healing and movement of the prosthesis.

After you go home, you can expect some discomfort from the surgery. Early ambulation and physical therapy increase your chances of getting back on your feet as soon as possible.  Recovery from a hip replacement can take anywhere from six weeks to six months.

Complications to look out for

As with any surgery, hip replacement carries the risk of complications during and after surgery.  One of the biggest risks for hip replacements is blood clots. Our surgeon takes precautions against clots, such thigh-length compression stockings and blood thinners after surgery.

Other complications that you should contact your doctor about include:

Your new hip should last you for the rest of your life, depending on your age when your hip is replaced. There is, of course, the risk that you may need to have a second hip replacement done due to wear-and-tear on the prosthesis over time.

If you have been suffering from hip pain long enough and are ready to explore the many benefits of hip replacement surgery, contact the skilled orthopedic team at our office in Mckinney to book an appointment with Dr. McKellar or book a consultation online today.

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