Why is a hip replacement needed?
Severe joint pain while standing or walking is the biggest indication for hip replacement, typically caused by osteoarthritis. It can be caused by a number of other reasons including: genetics, trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, or excessive weight.
What is involved in the surgery?
Surgery for a hip replacement is called a total hip arthroplasty. The diseased parts of the hip are replaced with new artificial parts. In this procedure, there are three surgical approaches that may be taken: posterolateral, lateral, and anterolateral approach. The approach used depends on your surgeon and a number of factors. The stability of the joint and rehabilitation is dependent upon the approach. In the most common approach, posterolateral, the scar is on the buttock near the outside of the hip. A few surgeons are also now beginning to perform minimally invasive hip replacements, leaving a scar on the front of the hip.
What are hip precautions?
Following a hip replacement, there are a few positions that you should not put your hip into to avoid dislocating your hip. These should be explained while you are still in the hospital and apply to typically 3 months post-op. For the most common approach, the hip precautions are:
- No crossing legs.
- No bending at the hip > 90 degrees. This means no bending forward to pick something off the floor or bringing your knee toward your chest.
- No turning the leg inward.
How Long Are Recovery and Rehabilitation?
As early as 1 to 2 days after surgery, you may be able to sit on the edge of the bed, stand, and even walk with assistance. Usually, people do not spend more than 7 days in the hospital after hip replacement surgery. Aquatic Therapy can begin 10 days post-op and will speed the progressions of using crutches > cane > no assistance. Full recovery from the surgery takes about 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of surgery, the overall health of the patient, and the success of rehabilitation. Rehab will focus on hip/knee strengthening, gait training, and stretching.