Everything You Need to Know About Total Hip Replacement Surgery

The hip joint, a ball-and-socket joint that connects your thigh bone (femur) to your pelvic bone, is one of the most important joints in your entire body. Without it, you can’t run, climb, walk, or even support your weight. And when it starts to give you trouble, it’s important to see an orthopedic specialist right away.

What does hip pain feel like?

Hip pain can occur from the tops of the buttocks to the upper thighs. Its location can help your doctor determine the underlying issue and best cause of treatment, so be as specific as possible. If the pain tends to come and go, keep a journal so you can see patterns such as time of day, rest, or other triggers.

If the pain is in your groin area or inside your hips, it’s likely an issue with the joint. It can be caused by arthritis, injury, a pinched nerve, or other, more serious issues like infections or cancer. Pain on the outside of the hips and buttocks is more likely muscle, tendon or other musculoskeletal issues, and in some cases, pain in the hip area can actually be due to disease or injury in your lower back or other parts of your body.

Can I avoid hip surgery?

As with any other injury, the course of treatment for hip pain begins with an evaluation by an experienced orthopedic surgeon and, most often, conservative treatment first. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or, if you’re overweight, diet changes and exercise in order to take some of the weight off your lower body.

Alternatively, your doctor may suggest vitamins, supplements like glucosamine, cortisone injections, or even massage treatments to help alleviate pain. But, if traditional or natural methods don’t do the trick, you may need to undergo arthroscopy. Alexander Orthopaedics will work with you to create the most effective combination of nonsurgical and surgical techniques needed to get your life back on track.

Minimally-Invasive Hip Surgery

At Alexander Orthopaedics, one of our specialties is hip arthroscopy — an outpatient procedure that involves small incisions and a camera to make internal repairs. It’s mainly used to fix a hip impingement, a condition that limits range of motion and can cause arthritis, and removal of loose cartilage that often results from injury. Patients who have undergone arthroscopy have reported quicker recovery time and good improvement in hip function after this procedure.

Total hip replacement surgery (Total hip arthroplasty)

Around 400,000 Americans receive a new hip each year. The medical term is arthroplasty, and while it is considerably more invasive than arthroscopy, it still can be done in most cases with only a small incision. During total hip replacement, the damaged parts of the joint are removed and replaced with metal or plastic prosthesis. Post-surgery, patients must undergo physical therapy and are restricted from walking unassisted or driving for a few weeks, but once recovery is complete they often experience a complete return to normal function.

What are the types of hip replacement surgery?

The two main types of hip replacement surgery are anterior, which uses an incision at the front of the hip, and posterior, which uses an incision at the back. However, the best technique was designed by Dr. Alexander himself. It is called the SMART total hip. (Semi-Posterior Modified Alexander Replacement Technique).

Why should I get a hip replacement?

Hip replacement is used to treat a number of conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Hip Fractures
  • Bone Tumors

Is hip replacement a major surgery?

Total hip replacement is a major surgery and there are some potential risks, as well as a typical recovery time of 2-3 months depending on the patient.

What can I expect after hip replacement surgery?

While you may be able to walk a day or so after your hip replacement surgery, resuming normal activities such as driving might take a few weeks. Our physical therapists will work with you to ensure a speedy and safe hip replacement recovery.

How long does a hip replacement last?

Artificial hip joints in a total hip replacement surgery can last for decades if they do not experience infection or complications, or are not re-injured. At Alexander Orthopaedics, we have developed proprietary surgical techniques to ensure better patient outcomes and longer-lasting hip replacements.

Am I a candidate for total hip replacement?

The decision to perform a total hip replacement is based on pain level, quality of life, and — unless the patient has suffered an acute injury — ineffectiveness of previous treatment options. Although most patients range in age from 50 to 80, it’s not the deciding factor. If your hip pain is severely limiting your daily activities, keeping you up at night, or doesn’t respond to anti-inflammatories, see your doctor.

Read Next: Types of Hip Replacements.

Don’t let a sore hip keep you from enjoying life. Alexander Orthopaedics is the only practice in the Tampa Bay area that specializes in outpatient total joint replacement surgery, which means you’ll be back on your feet quicker. Schedule an appointment today and get started on the path back to a pain-free life.