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Hip Surgery

All about hip surgery

When a person feels pain while walking, climbing stairs, bending, driving, or performing normal daily activities, whether as a result of an injury or a degenerative disease such as arthritis, hip surgery may be the solution. The hip joint contains two basic parts, the femoral head (a ball), and the acetabulum (the socket). Hip surgery replaces one or both of these parts.

Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement involves replacing the damaged or diseased hip joint with a metal ball and plastic cup. This ball and cup is known as the prosthesis. The procedure is performed on people who have worsening arthritis of the hip joint, making it painful to walk and move properly. Prior to total hip replacement surgery, a full medical history is taken. Medications that can affect blood clotting must be discontinued a week before the procedure, and people will often donate some of their own blood in case a transfusion is required due to blood loss. The surgery can take anywhere from two to four hours. Physical therapy begins as soon as the day after the surgery, doing exercises while seated. Walking aids such as canes can be used initially, but movement must be kept up to prevent scarring from limiting movement. Although the physical therapy is hard work, many people find the pain to be less than what they experienced before the surgery.

Hip Fracture Surgery

Partial hip replacement is also possible. In this case, only the ball of the joint is replaced, and made to fit in with the remaining cup. Partial hip replacement is usually the result of a fracture, to the hip. There are two basic types of hip fracture surgery. The type that is used depends on where the hip is fractured. In the first procedure, an incision will be made in the thigh and the surgeon will insert screws to hold the bones in place. In the second type of surgery, used for larger injuries, a metal plate will be inserted and attached with a few screws into the bone. Both of these surgeries can be done in less than an hour.

Arthroscopic Hip Surgery

In some cases, arthroscopic hip surgery can be done. The arthroscope is a small instrument with a camera on it that is inserted through a small incision in the hip. A large monitor shows the surgeon what is in the hip joint that needs repair. Loose pieces of cartilage that can rub on the joint can be removed. It is also possible to smooth the ends of the bone where bits have broken off. The operation can be done quite quickly, and some athletes are back in prime condition within nine months of arthroscopic hip surgery. The process of physical therapy and gradually getting used to using the hip properly again is similar to other hip surgeries.

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