Arthritis and Hip Replacement Surgery
What is osteoarthritis and how does it affect my hip?
The ends of the bones in a joint are covered with cartilage, a tough lubricating tissue that helps cushion the bones during movement. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint bone and cartilage, and it typically develops after years of constant motion and pressure in the joints. As the bone and cartilage continue to wear away, the joint becomes increasingly painful and difficult to move.
What treatment options are available?
Conservative treatments may include physical therapy, weight loss, medication, braces, and activity modification. When conservative treatments fail to provide relief from pain, your surgeon may recommend total hip replacement.
What is total hip replacement?
Total hip replacement, also called arthroplasty, involves removing the diseased bone and cartilage and resurfacing them with orthopedic implants.
During surgery, the joint is exposed by an incision made on the side of the hip. The head of the femur (ball) is removed to allow for the replacement hip component, which is made of a biocompatible (body friendly) metal alloy such as cobalt chromium or titanium.
The acetabulum (socket) is then shaped to accept the new cup, which is pressed into place.
There are several materials that can be used to line the cup in your pelvis, including polyethylene (plastic) and metal. It is important to discuss these options with your surgeon.
The life of any implant will depend on your weight, age, activity level, and other factors. For more information on risks, warnings, and possible adverse effects, see the Patient Risk Information section found within Biomet.com.
What kind of recovery can I expect?
Exercise is necessary for proper healing. Your surgeon may recommend therapy to assist with gentle leg movement, strengthening, and mobility exercises between 24-48 hours after surgery. Therapy will begin in the hospital and usually continues after discharge for approximately six weeks.
Diligent physical therapy, proper diet, and a willingness to follow all of your surgeon's recommendations will contribute to a successful recovery after surgery. Most patients are able to walk without support and drive three to six weeks after surgery.
Can I participate in regular activities after surgery?
Patients with total hip replacement are typically able to participate in low-impact activities after surgery. Golfing, walking, and swimming are a few examples of low-impact activities. Talk to your doctor before participating in an activity that may place excess stress on your hip.