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Hip Replacement

What Can I Expect After A Hip Replacement?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 11:18

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

New technology involving the implants for artificial hip replacement and advances in surgical techniques has improved the immediate and long-term outcome of the surgery. Generally today's artificial hips can last a lifetime. However, if the person is very young, the plastic can wear out. Fortunately, with the new socket implants for the pelvis, the socket can be changed without removing the other portions of the hip joint.

The person with a hip replacement may be able to take part in physical activities that were impossible before surgery.

Some additional tips and precautions for recreational activities include the following:

  • Stress from rotation on the lead leg and hip in golf may be minimized by use of a smooth spikeless shoe.
  • Because bicycling introduces risk factors related to the resistance (such as from uphill inclines), avoid heavy pedaling when riding.
  • Although skiing on smooth groomed slopes in proper light is relatively safe, falls can have serious effects.
  • The surgeon will review x-rays and scans and can advise about current risk factors that may affect the life of the implant.

Your Future Activities

Most individuals following hip replacement surgery are able to return to work within a month or two of surgery. Yet, some individuals that are exposed to work requiring a great deal of repetitive climbing or crawling, may find it necessary to change jobs. Overall, many find that the activities that were once painful such as climbing up and down stairs, sitting for extended periods of time, and getting in and out of cars can now be performed with less pain.

What If The Hip Replacement Fails?

Loosening of the implant is the most frequent cause of failure of a total hip replacement. If that happens, revision surgery may be needed.

The extent of a revision surgery depends on the complexity of artificial implant removal along with restoration of bone. Revision of a surface replacement is likely to be less involved because the intact femur or thigh bone is still present. Revision surgery is technically more difficult although quality results can be achieved. Third and fourth revisions have been performed with each revision having a special and more difficult challenge for the surgeon and patient.

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