Total Hip Replacement (THR) also known as Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA), is one of the most common and successfully performed orthopaedic surgical procedures.
The procedure involves replacing the deteriorated or damaged hip joint (ball & socket) with an artificial prosthesis (implant) designed to replicate as much as possible, the strength and functionality of the natural hip joint. THR reduces or eliminates pain and permits patients to lead normal active lives once again.
If you are wondering if you or someone you know is a candidate for surgery, there are various signs which if present, can indicate when hip replacement surgery may be beneficial or indeed, necessary. The most common indicators for THR surgery are when:
• Hip pain restricts daily activities including walking and bending. • Pain persists during periods of rest, day or night. • Stiffness in the hip reduces the ability to move or lift the leg(s). • Conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy or the use of a cane have failed to provide any relief. • Prescribed hip medication is causing harmful or unpleasant side effects.
Before a patient’s candidacy for treatment is confirmed, a surgeon will assess a case carefully, considering the patient’s current activity levels and their expectations for life post surgery. Once candidacy is confirmed and the appropriate implant has been selected, a personalised treatment and recovery programme is created.
The actual THR procedure usually lasts approximately 1 hour however this may be extended for cases which are a little more complex. Hospital stay is between 4 -7 days depending upon a patient’s age and/or recovery progress.
A physiotherapy/rehabilitation programme begins shortly after surgery and must continue for several weeks. The regimen includes:
• Returning to sitting, standing, and walking up and down stairs. • Exercises which restore movement (several times a day) • Exercises which strengthen the hip joint (several times a day) • A graduated walking programme that begins firstly in and around the home and then outside. This increases mobility and endurance. • Returning to regular normal household activities.
The majority of patients who undergo THR surgery and therapy are able to resume normal activity 3 months after surgery. The longevity of prosthetic hips varies however usually they last up to 15 years.