What is joint replacement surgery?
A hip replacement surgery is a procedure used to remove damaged parts of your joint and replacing them with an artificial joint (prosthesis) made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.
There are different joint replacement prostheses and surgical techniques. Considering your weight, age, joint size and shape, your surgeon will determine the proper technique for you.
Why would I get this procedure?
There are different reasons why you would get knee/hip replacement surgery. These reasons include:
Rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease that makes the body attacks different joints, including the hip and knee.
Osteoarthritis. Also known as wear-and-tear arthritis. It is a condition that results from damage to the cartilage that covers the ends of your bones. This leads to severe pain and inflammation.
Osteonecrosis. It most commonly happens in the hip joint. It occurs when there isn’t enough blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint. This may result in a bone collapse or deformity.
You should also consider the procedure if you have problems walking, climbing the stairs, or getting out of chairs.
What happens during the procedure?
Before the surgery, you will be asked to put on a hospital gown and remove your clothes. You will be either give general anesthesia or spinal block, which numbers the lower half of your body.
The exact steps of the procedure depend on whether you will undergo hip replacement or knee replacement. If you are undergoing hip replacement:
- Your surgeon will make an incision on the front of your hip.
- The surgeon then will remove the diseased cartilage and bone but leaving the healthy part of your joint intact.
- The prosthetic socket will be implanted into your pelvic bone to replace the damaged joint.
- The round ball on the top of your femur (thigh bone) will be replaced with the prosthetic ball attached to a stem that fits into your thigh bone.
On the other hand, if you are undergoing knee replacement surgery:
- Your knee will be in a bent position to expose most of the knee joint.
- The surgeon will make an incision that is about 15 to 25 centimeters.
- Then the damaged joint surface will be cut away.
- Your surgeon will then attach the pieces of the artificial joint and close the incision.
What happens after the procedure?
Once the surgery is done, you will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored for one to two hours until your anesthesia wears off. Then you will be moved to your hospital room to stay for a couple of days.
A physical therapist will guide you on how to exercise your new joint. You will continue physical therapy even after you leave the hospital. It is essential to understand that you should exercise regularly and exactly as instructed by your physical therapist. This will lead to faster recovery.
Joint replacement will provide pain relief, improve your mobility, and result in an overall better quality of life. Most hip replacements can last for more than 15 years.
You should know that high-impact activities like jogging, tennis, skiing, or any sport that involve jumping should be avoided. Nevertheless, you will still be able to do other activities like walking, swimming, biking, or golfing.
Mayo Clinic: Hip replacement
Mayo Clinic: Knee replacement