Frequently Asked Questions
A hip replacement involves a surgical procedure to replace part or all of a diseased or damaged hip joint with an artificial substitute – a prosthetic hip joint. The operation to replace or mend a joint is known as ‘arthroplasty’.
The aim of a hip replacement is to alleviate pain and restore function in the hip joint.
A hip replacement may become necessary to prevent pain and increase mobility if your hip joint is damaged as a result of disease or injury. The most common cause of hip replacements is osteoarthritis, but the procedure may also be necessary for people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bone tumours or a fractured femur (thigh bone).
Hip replacements may not be recommended for people who have a high likelihood of injury, such as people with Parkinsons disease or a significant weakness of the muscles.
You may feel some numbness in the skin around your incision. You also may feel some stiffness, particularly with excessive bending. These differences often diminish with time and most patients find these are minor compared to the pain and limited function they experienced prior to surgery. Your new hip may activate metal detectors required for security in airports and some buildings. Tell the security agent about your hip replacement if the alarm is activated.
The average expectancy ranges from five to twenty years depending upon the activity level of the patient.
Any surgery has risks. There are many risks associated with Hip replacement surgery. However, in the hands of a well-trained, dedicated orthopaedic surgeon, these risks should be quite low. The most common complication is blood clots in the legs. The most serious complication is infection. The most important long-term complication is loosening.
The newer articulating surfaces are more durable, wear less and so more longevity can be expected with better range of motion. The newer articulating materials are metal on metal, ceramic on ceramic and metal with highly cross linked polyethylene.