Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery is a common and effective orthopedic treatment for severe hip pain where damaged parts of the joint are replaced with artificial parts. The procedure helps restore mobility and relieve severe pain in patients with arthritis and other ailments.

What to Know About Hip Replacement Surgery

Not everyone needs surgery to treat their injured hip, but for those who do, there are various types of replacement and surgical approaches available.

Types of Hip Replacement Surgery

  • Total hip replacement: As the hip is a ball-and-socket joint, a replacement typically involves replacing the “ball” atop your thigh bone as well as the “socket,” which is part of the pelvis. THR is the most common type of hip replacement surgery.
  • Hip resurfacing: This is a less common technique sometimes used for high-demand athletes who need their new joints to withstand large amounts of wear and force.
  • Partial hip replacement: If the damaged part of the hip is isolated to a specific area, our surgeons may recommend a partial hip replacement where only the ball is replaced. Partial hip replacement is only performed for hip fractures and is not an effective treatment for arthritis.

Approaches (Methods) of Hip Replacement Surgery

When performing a hip replacement, a surgeon can access the hip from different angles. All approaches to the hip have excellent long-term outcomes. Your doctor will determine what type of approach is best for you.

Three common ways to approach the hip joint during the procedure are:

  • Anterior approach: The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the hip. This approach has been gaining in popularity due to a minimally invasive approach, fewer activity restrictions and precautions, and a faster recovery.
  • Posterior approach: The surgeon makes an incision at the back of the hip. This has been the most popular approach for quite some time. Many surgeons now use a “soft-tissue sparing” posterior approach that is less invasive and promotes a faster recovery.
  • Lateral approach: The surgeon makes an incision in the side of the hip. This is sometimes used for hip resurfacing.

Which Conditions Does Hip Replacement Surgery Treat?

  • The most common condition that patients get hip replacement surgery for is osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by wear and tear of the joint leading to pain and stiffness.
  • Other conditions that hip replacement surgery may treat include:
    • Dysplasia (abnormal shape of the hip ball or socket)
    • Hip injury
    • Rheumatoid arthritis or other types of arthritis

Who is a Good Candidate for Hip Replacement Surgery?

While hip replacement surgery is very common, the treatment is typically recommended for:

  • Patients with severe hip damage due to arthritis or injury.
  • Patients who experience severe hip pain to the point where everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and standing up are painful and difficult.
  • Patients who have not responded to other treatments like physical therapy, medications, injections, activity modification, or other surgical procedures.

What Can I Expect During Recovery Following Hip Replacement Surgery?

Depending on their overall health and other factors, patients could go home the same day (outpatient, also known as “Same Day Discharge”) or they may require an overnight hospital stay for observation.

Physical therapy is sometimes, but not always, part of the recovery after hip replacement. Occasionally this will be started at your home in the first few days after surgery. Most (but not all) patients will do outpatient physical therapy at one of our physical therapy locations or another facility of their choosing for a few weeks after surgery.

Return to work and driving ability vary among patients depending on their function, pain, and occupation. In order to drive, you must be off of all narcotic pain medications, and you must test your own ability to react and use the brakes appropriately. This is typically about 2-3 weeks after surgery for the left leg and 3-6 weeks for the right leg. You should not return to driving unless you can operate the vehicle safely.

  • Total hip replacement: As the hip is a ball-and-socket joint, a replacement typically involves replacing the “ball” atop your thigh bone as well as the “socket,” which is part of the pelvis. THR is the most common type of hip replacement surgery.
  • Hip resurfacing: This is a less common technique sometimes used for high-demand athletes who need their new joints to withstand large amounts of wear and force.
  • Partial hip replacement: If the damaged part of the hip is isolated to a specific area, our surgeons may recommend a partial hip replacement where only the ball is replaced. Partial hip replacement is only performed for hip fractures and is not an effective treatment for arthritis.

When performing a hip replacement, a surgeon can access the hip from different angles. All approaches to the hip have excellent long-term outcomes. Your doctor will determine what type of approach is best for you.

Three common ways to approach the hip joint during the procedure are:

  • Anterior approach: The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the hip. This approach has been gaining in popularity due to a minimally invasive approach, fewer activity restrictions and precautions, and a faster recovery.
  • Posterior approach: The surgeon makes an incision at the back of the hip. This has been the most popular approach for quite some time. Many surgeons now use a “soft-tissue sparing” posterior approach that is less invasive and promotes a faster recovery.
  • Lateral approach: The surgeon makes an incision in the side of the hip. This is sometimes used for hip resurfacing.

  • The most common condition that patients get hip replacement surgery for is osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by wear and tear of the joint leading to pain and stiffness.
  • Other conditions that hip replacement surgery may treat include:
    • Dysplasia (abnormal shape of the hip ball or socket)
    • Hip injury
    • Rheumatoid arthritis or other types of arthritis

While hip replacement surgery is very common, the treatment is typically recommended for:

  • Patients with severe hip damage due to arthritis or injury.
  • Patients who experience severe hip pain to the point where everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and standing up are painful and difficult.
  • Patients who have not responded to other treatments like physical therapy, medications, injections, activity modification, or other surgical procedures.

Depending on their overall health and other factors, patients could go home the same day (outpatient, also known as “Same Day Discharge”) or they may require an overnight hospital stay for observation.

Physical therapy is sometimes, but not always, part of the recovery after hip replacement. Occasionally this will be started at your home in the first few days after surgery. Most (but not all) patients will do outpatient physical therapy at one of our physical therapy locations or another facility of their choosing for a few weeks after surgery.

Return to work and driving ability vary among patients depending on their function, pain, and occupation. In order to drive, you must be off of all narcotic pain medications, and you must test your own ability to react and use the brakes appropriately. This is typically about 2-3 weeks after surgery for the left leg and 3-6 weeks for the right leg. You should not return to driving unless you can operate the vehicle safely.

Why Choose Sports Medicine North for Hip Issues

Sports Medicine North’s orthopedic hip surgeons are dedicated to providing surgical and nonsurgical approaches to treating acute and chronic hip conditions. Our specialists strive to offer the highest level of hip care that helps patients to restore function, reduce discomfort, provide relief, and prevent further injury. We offer both the anterior and posterior approaches to the hip. All of our surgeons are fellowship-trained, and many of them perform hundreds of hip replacement surgeries per year. We have outstanding outcomes with low complication rates.

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