TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT: PROS & CONS OF THE OPERATION:
On the whole, total hip replacement is seen as one of the most successful operations that medicine has to offer. In the right patient, it can be an effective, safe, and durable way to treat many of the problems that come with severe arthritis of the hip. Pain relief: This is the greatest benefit that the procedure has to offer and the main reason for surgery.
A hip replacement can provide a dramatic reduction in pain, with almost all patients getting complete or near complete relief from arthritic hip pain. Improved mobility and hip function: After reduction in pain, increased mobility is the next major benefit.
A hip replacement should allow you get back walking without restriction. Improved hip function should also help significantly with other common problems associated with hip arthritis, such as climbing stairs, putting on socks, getting out of chairs, etc.
Long lasting: A hip replacement is a durable way to treat the problems that come with severe hip arthritis. Current evidence shows that 80-85% of hip replacements are still working at 20 years after they were inserted.
Know the RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS, before surgery day:
While overall it is deemed to be a safe procedure, there are associated risks that potential patients need to be made aware of.
Infection: A small number of people (around 1%) can get an infection around their hip replacement. This can be one of the most debilitating complications associated with total hip replacements, as it can require several further surgeries and prolonged courses of antibiotics to treat the infection.
Blood clots: For a period after the operation, people who have a hip replacement are at an increased risk of developing blood clots in the veins in their leg and pelvis. These can be dangerous because pieces of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs. You may be prescribed blood thinners for a period after the operation to help reduce the risk=prevention. Other measures such as compression stockings, and calf pump exercises may also be advised as a prevention of clotting in the lower extremities.
Bleeding/Blood loss: Significant blood loss can occur during the operation, and in the immediate period after. In the event that this happens, a blood transfusion may be required.
Dislocation: This occurs when the ball of the hip becomes dislodged from the socket. Dislocation occurs in less than 2% of patients. In most cases the hip can be put back into the socket while the patient is under sedation. In cases where the hip keeps dislocating, further surgery to stabilise the hip may be necessary. To reduce the risk of dislocation some patients are given instructions on certain positions to avoid. The specifics of these instructions depend on how your surgery was performed, and therefore should be discussed with your consultant.
Change in leg length: It can occur that after surgery one leg may feel longer or shorter than the other. While your consultant will make every effort to make leg lengths equal, slight differences may occur as a result of trying to maximize the stability of the hip. In cases where there is a significant difference in leg length, some people find that wearing a raised insole is helpful.