When the hip joint is functioning properly, the ball, socket, and surrounding soft tissues allow for smooth and painless movement throughout a range of motion. The hip is a major weight-bearing joint in the human body, and therefore quite vulnerable to injury, inflammation, and age-related degenerative changes. Arthritis often leads to irreversible damage to the cartilage in the hip joint. People experience severe pain and stiffness, which impairs mobility and makes it difficult to pursue everyday activities. Eventually, this can lead to a serious disability.
Who are ideal candidates for total hip replacement?
When an individual is suffering from near-daily severe pain, and mobility is seriously compromised, total hip replacement (arthoplasty) is a highly effective solution. It is performed when hip joint cartilage and underlying layer of bone are damaged to such an extent that regeneration is not possible.
How common is hip surgery and does it have a good success rate?
In my practice, I perform about 30 hip joint replacements a year. Total hip replacement is a widely implemented surgery, restoring pain-free mobility and joint functionality to more than 400,000 patients annually. The success rate is high, with 90 to 95 percent of patients having functional hip replacements after 10 years.
What surgical approaches do you use and what are the benefits?
In traditional hip replacement procedures, there is the concern of dislocation, instability, impingement, and long-term wear on the plastic. I use dual mobility hip, which offers greater stability because it has two weight-bearing surfaces. It provides the advantages of metal-on-metal implants without the disadvantages. While the majority of current total hip replacement approaches are considered minimally invasive, I greatly prefer the mini-posterior approach because it provides superior visualization and has a very low complication rate. The complication rates are around one percent compared to the anterior approach, which has complication rates as high as 12 percent.
How long is the recovery after undergoing total hip replacement?
The average short-term recovery for total hip replacement is four to six weeks. A day or two after surgery, patients are given a walker to use for stability. By day three, most patients can leave the hospital. Short-term recovery includes weaning the patient off narcotic pain killers and any sleeping aids as soon as possible. Swelling in the operative leg is a normal side effect of surgery. Once a patient doesn’t need a walker, we prescribe very specific exercises that become increasingly difficult based on his or her progress. The healing of surgical wounds and internal soft tissues are signs that long-term recovery has been achieved. For most patients, this takes about six months.