Did you know there were almost 2 million hip and knee procedures performed in 2020 alone? Hip replacements took up over 30 percent of that number.
While the thought of having a hip replacement is scary, it’s also a really common procedure that can ultimately help your quality of life. You might still be wondering what all goes into a procedure like this, though, and we’re here to tell you.
Read on to answer the question, “how does a hip replacement work?”
How Do You Know It’s Needed?
So, hip replacement is actually an elective surgery, meaning you never have to have it, but it’s something that can help. It’s usually recommended when you’re displaying limited mobility, you’re limping, or the pain is affecting your overall quality of life.
Your physician will determine if it’s necessary through an exam and several x-rays.
How Does a Hip Replacement Work?
Typically, a hip replacement is going to involve removing the head of the femur and the remaining cartilage in your hip socket. It’ll then be replaced with metal, ceramic, and/or plastic pieces.
Those pieces move smoothly over each other to restore full motion to your hip.
The surgery is also a low-risk one. Your physician will go over the risks for your particular case with you, but here are a few of the most common:
- Blood clots (very uncommon with proper aftercare)
Besides this, there are a few methods that physicians commonly use, with the anterior and posterior approaches being the most common.
Anterior Hip Replacement
Anterior hip replacement surgery is the least invasive of any other approach. It doesn’t involve cutting through any muscles but instead accessing the hip between two muscles at the front.
Once the surgery is done, those muscles return to their normal positions and cover the hip components that have been replaced.
Posterior Hip Replacement
Posterior hip replacement is the most commonly used approach. It’s minimally invasive and also requires no muscle cutting to access. The difference is that your surgeon accesses your hip from the back instead of the front.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
Recovery is going to look different for every patient, but you’ll usually be sent home the same day or soon thereafter. You’ll start with using a walker or cane as soon as you’re able (usually that day or the day after).
After a few weeks, you’ll be sent to physical therapy to improve your range of motion for (typically) about three months after surgery. It usually takes patients an entire year to make a full recovery to their normal usage.
Hip Surgery Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating
Now that we’ve answered the question, “How does a hip replacement work?” you’ve hopefully experienced some anxiety relief about the procedure. Whether it’s something you’re considering or are about to have done, it’s nothing to be afraid of. The surgery is a common one, and it’s simple to perform and recover from.
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