Hip replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in the world. More than 400,000 hip replacements are performed every year in the United States. There have been many advances in the materials and techniques of hip replacement that make it an even more successful and durable procedure.
When conservative treatment options have failed and you continue to have significant pain and disability from your hip, then hip replacement can be a good option to restore your function and reduce your pain.
There are a few reasons why choose to do hip replacements from the anterior approach. Anterior approach is where the hip surgery is done from the front of the hip rather than posterior which is done from the back, or lateral from the side. This approach allows for the surgeon to access the hip by going between muscles rather than cutting through them.
Studies have shown that patients who have an anterior approach hip replacement are able to walk more steps in the first few weeks after surgery and have less pain.
The risk of your hip popping out of socket is probably lower with an anterior approach hip as well.
Most hip replacements do well if the surgery is done efficiently and the implants are put in the correct position.
Implants that are used today are typically made of some sort of titanium. The bearing surface of your hip is a highly durable plastic and a ball made of toughened ceramic. The titanium implants have a special surface on them that allows your bone to grow into them. Patients often want to know how long their hip implants will last. Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer yet. Around 1999 we made a pretty significant change to the plastic used. Prior to that time the implants were lasting between 15-20 years. Implants that have been in for almost 20 years now have shown very little wear at all. We can confidently say the implants will last 20 years. 30 years or more is very likely but we will closely watch the implants to track their durability over time.
Depending on how healthy you are, how well you get around, and how much help you have at home, you can go home on the same day as your surgery. Many patients will go home the day after surgery. Very rarely will you have to stay more than 1 night in the hospital. This is usually for patients who have medical problems or are so weak that they have a hard time getting around on their own.
Most patients will use a walker for a week or two as they get more comfortable walking on their new hip. You will transition to a cane or crutch for a week or two. By the time you come to your 4 week appointment you may be using your cane for longer walks but you may not be using it much at all.
Physical therapy is arranged but most patients don’t need much therapy. Walking is the best exercise after hip replacement and special stretches and exercises aren’t required.
Recovery after joint replacement takes a full year, however, 90% of your recovery will happen in the first 3-4 months. When you are fully recovered from your hip replacement there will be no restrictions on your activity and you can resume any and all activities that you wish.