The hip region of your body bears a lot of your weight. Any damage to this region not only leads to immense pain and discomfort but also hampers your overall mobility.

Hip replacement surgery is a common orthopedic procedure carried out to replace one or more damaged hip bones with an implant. While the surgery is commonly performed on patients between the ages of 60 and 80, anyone suffering from specific hip injuries and complications can get it done.

If you or anyone in your family has been suffering from a serious hip injury, make you approach an orthopedic surgeon in your city to get the issue diagnosed. However, before getting a hip replacement surgery done, here are a few important things you should be aware of as a patient.

So, let’s start with the basics.

What Is Hip Replacement Surgery?

Also known as hip arthroplasty, hip replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that involves replacing your hip (or specific parts of it) with an artificial implant. In most cases, the surgery is performed after other treatment procedures, like physical therapy, medicines, weight loss, etc., have failed.

A hip replacement surgery relieves the pain and discomfort in your body, helping you move better. While the surgery has a high success rate, most artificial implants are designed to last effectively for around 15 years. The risk of the prosthesis (implant) failing over time often pushes doctors to delay the surgery until it becomes unavoidable.

Which Causes Lead To Hip Replacement Surgery?

Here are a few major health complications that lead to hip replacement surgery:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome
  • Development of hip dysplasia
  • Neoplasms
  • Childhood hip disorders
  • Hip injuries that don’t heal over time

Types Of Hip Replacement Surgeries

Depending on the severity of the damage to your hip, your doctor may recommend a total or partial hip replacement surgery.

Total hip replacement is the most common surgery. It involves switching your femoral head (the highest part of your thigh bone) and acetabulum (the socket in your hip joint) with an implant. On the other hand, partial hip replacement surgery is limited to replacing your femoral head.

Symptoms Indicating The Need For Hip Replacement

Let us now have a look at a few major symptoms that should prompt you to consider hip replacement surgery:

  • Severe pain in the trochanteric and buttock region
  • Severe pain in the groin or anterior hip
  • Pain in the hip during activity and at rest
  • Pain that worsens while putting weight on your leg
  • Stiffness or tightness in the hip
  • Difficulty in sleeping, walking, and putting on shoes/socks due to hip pain
  • Loss of motion

Is Hip Replacement Surgery For Everyone?

Hip replacement surgery is not for everyone. Even if you have damaged your hip or are in pain because of a musculoskeletal condition, that doesn’t automatically make you eligible for hip replacement. Make sure you get thoroughly diagnosed and seek medical advice from a trusted orthopedic doctor before making any important decision.

Here are a few conditions that make hip replacement surgery unsuitable for patients:

  • History of severe medical conditions like anemia, heart failure, heart attack, unstable angina, etc.
  • Having an immature skeleton
  • Having an active infection
  • Being paraplegic or quadriplegic
  • Irreversible muscle weakness
  • Having a neuropathic joint
  • Severe obesity

Preparing For Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery is generally an inpatient procedure that may require you to stay in the hospital for a couple of days.

If your doctor has recommended the surgery and you have made up your mind for the same, you will need to schedule multiple appointments regarding testing and clearance. These appointments will include urine tests, lab testing, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests. Your doctor will also assess the medical risk involved in getting your hip replaced and ensure that the risks do not outweigh the benefits.

Here are a few important checks made by doctors before going ahead with hip replacement surgery:

  • Your anxiety about the surgery
  • Your tolerance to anesthesia
  • Your capacity to handle blood loss
  • Your capacity to go through rehabilitation
  • Your general strength
  • The effect of your existing medical conditions (if any) on your surgery
  • Your weight and its suitability for the surgery

Apart from this, your doctors will assess your lower extremities by performing some of the following tests:

Muscle Testing

Muscle testing involves checking the strength of your hip flexors, abductors, extensors, and adductors. It also helps your doctor test the strength of your limb below your hip joint.

Palpation Testing

Palpation testing is performed to eliminate all other causes of hip pain that are not related to your hip joint.

Nerve And Vascular Status Testing

This test helps your doctor check if you are suffering from a serious vascular disease.

Range of Motion Testing

Range of motion testing deals with assessing hip flexion or extension, abduction or adduction, and internal/external rotation.

Straight Leg Raise

This involves testing groin pain, back pain, radiating pain, lower leg pain, and posterior hip pain.

General Inspection

This checkup involves testing your walk, abnormal swelling (if any), cuts, infections, and incisions on your body due to previous surgeries.

Before you go in for hip replacement surgery, your doctor may ask you to get one or more of the following diagnostic tests done:

  • Blood screening
  • Urinalysis
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Basic chemistries
  • ECG
  • International normalized ratio (INR)
  • Prothrombin time (PT)
  • Activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT)

The Final Word

These were some of the most important aspects you should consider before getting hip replacement surgery done. To ensure fruitful diagnosis and treatment, make sure you seek medical help from a trusted and experienced orthopedic doctor in your city. Be honest about your health complications, and do not panic at any stage of the treatment. Once the surgery is completed, give importance to rehabilitation to ensure quick and effective recovery. Effective hip replacement surgery can return your lost mobility and help you lead a healthy life!