What You Need to Know About Hip Replacement

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We hope you're able to walk, run and dance through your entire life with your healthy natural joints. But if you find that over time your hips have become arthritic and painful, hip replacement might be for you.

"As we age, the wear and tear on our joints can cause us to slow down, and in some cases, it hinders us from being able to do everyday things," said Travis Anthony, MD, orthopedic surgeon at AdventHealth Central Texas. "When that happens, it's time to talk to your doctor about your options."

Who Needs Hip Replacement Surgery

Patients over 65 years old who've exhausted all other forms of treatment, maintained active lifestyles and have chronic pain even while sitting or asleep are the prime candidates for hip replacement surgery. Rest pain, or chronic pain experienced even when the body is in a state of rest, is the primary reason for the surgery after all other treatments have been exhausted.

"Like any surgery, the decision to have a joint replaced is a serious one and should not be made lightly," said Dr. Anthony. "It should only be considered when you've exhausted all other treatment options."

Other forms of treatment will generally include some or all of the following:

  • Weight Loss
  • Physical Therapy
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
  • Cortisone Injections
  • Viscosupplementation or Gel Injections

After these conservative treatments have been applied and chronic pain still exists from arthritic hips, it may be time to consider a total hip replacement procedure.

Total hip replacement surgery is not recommended for those who are overweight, tobacco smokers, or diabetics. The chance for infection is just too great with these patients, and it increases the risk of complications after the surgery.

What to Expect Before and After Surgery

Once all other forms of treatment have been ruled out and surgery is the last option for dealing with your chronic pain, you'll need to get clearance from your primary care provider. The process for clearing you for surgery may require testing for any allergens that may be contained in the implants and used during the procedure.

People allergic to nickel, chrome, cobalt, and other metals, as well as the cement used in the surgery, may not be eligible for the procedure or may require different materials.

Once your general practitioner has cleared you, the next steps are your pre-operative appointment at the AdventHealth Central Texas Surgical Center and participation in a Joint Camp class where you will meet your hospital care team and learn more about what to expect.

When the day of your surgery arrives, depending on your surgeon, you may require general anesthesia. Your surgery will generally require a one to two-day hospital stay, where our multi-disciplinary team uses advanced techniques to provide coordinated care. The best example of this is the use of modular prosthetics fit to your body and aligned surgically to leave you feeling like the hip has always been yours.

These important steps of the replacement process not only leave you with a familiar joint but also have been shown to improve healing and recovery time as well as better long-term comfort. The surgery typically lasts between one and two hours, with an additional two hours for prep and recovery in the operating room.

Physical therapy after surgery is essential to recovery. You can expect our physical therapy team to have you up on your feet on the day of your surgery, and outpatient physical therapy will be arranged when you are ready to be discharged from the hospital.

While the surgery used to be an inpatient procedure with a three-week ICU stay, now it's only one or two days (no ICU required), and you're back home and ready to start your physical therapy. In just six to eight weeks with physical therapy, you should be back on your feet with considerably less pain. Your healing process normally takes 16 to 20 weeks, as soft tissue takes longer to heal.

As for scarring, the incision is always only as big as it needs to be, and with the attention of our award-winning care specialists, any scarring should be minimal.

Personalized, Coordinated Care

At AdventHealth Central Texas, we've formed strategic relationships, not only with individual physicians but with other health organizations, such as outpatient physical therapy providers, to deliver the convenient care that you've come to expect from us. To learn more about what surgical options are available to you, please visit our website.

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