The hip is one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints. It remains stable even during twisting and extreme range of motion. A healthy hip joint allows you to walk, squat, and turn without pain. That’s because a healthy hip joint has smooth cartilage that covers the ends of the thigh bone and the socket, located in the pelvis.  This cartilage protects the bone and allows the ball to glide easily in the socket allowing the joint to move smoothly and painlessly. When a hip joint is damaged, it is likely to hurt when you move. With age or a previous injury this cartilage can become worn and no longer act as a cushion for the bone. Osteoarthritis can develop as the cartilage deteriorates and eventually the bones may rub together, causing pain, swelling and stiffness in the joint.

The good news is  – there is help. You don’t have to live with the pain. A hip replacement can alleviate the joint pain and return you to a full and active lifestyle. A hip replacement takes about an hour and a half and uses a ball with a stem to replace the top of the thighbone, and a new cup replaces the worn socket. When connected they create a new hip that has smooth surfaces so that you can move comfortably and without pain.

The benefits of hip replacement surgery are many:

  • It stops or greatly reduces hip pain. Even the pain from surgery should go away within a few weeks.
  • Allows you to increase leg strength. Without hip pain, you’ll be able to use your legs more allowing you to build up your muscles.
  • Improves your quality of life by allowing you to participate in activities again without pain.

Preparing for Surgery

When preparing for hip replacement surgery, you will have some pre-operative testing to make sure your physical health is fit for surgery. Your surgeon will give you instructions on preparing for surgery. Most patients arrive at the hospital on the morning of surgery. The team at the surgery center or hospital will prepare you for surgery and you will meet with the anesthesiologist. When the surgical team is ready, you’ll be taken to the operating room. There you’ll be given anesthesia to help you sleep through surgery, or anesthetic that will make you numb from the waist down. Then an incision is made, giving the surgeon access to your hip joint. The damaged ball is removed, and the socket is prepared to hold the prosthesis. After the new joint is in place, the incision is closed with staples or stitches. The surgery itself is expected to take an hour and a half to two hours.

After surgery you will be sent to the recovery room, also called the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit). Your condition will be watched closely, and you’ll be given pain medications or anti-nausea medications, as needed. Within a few hours you will usually feel well enough to go home and begin your recovery in the comfort of your own home.




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