Hip Replacement: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens before the surgery? 

To make sure you are in the best health possible before surgery, your physician's office will schedule your visit to our Surgical Evaluation Center.  You will be asked to find a family member or friend who can be your "joint coach" and assist you after the surgery. This will help your surgery go more smoothly and help you recover faster. The nurse practitioner will take your health history, perform a medical exam and order any tests you may need. In addition, you and your joint coach will have a private class with a physical therapist and nurse educator so you can learn what to expect in the hospital and after you are discharged. 

How is a hip replaced with an artificial hip joint? 

Although each procedure varies, generally, surgery to replace a hip joint usually lasts an hour or so. 

The two most common types of artificial hip prostheses used in replacement surgery are cemented prostheses or uncemented prostheses. Sometimes, a combination of the two types is used to replace a hip joint. A hip prosthesis is made up of metal and plastic. A cemented prosthesis is attached to the bone with a type of surgical cement. An uncemented prosthesis attaches to the bone with a fine mesh of holes on the surface, in order for the bone to grow into the mesh and attach naturally to the prosthesis. 

The prosthesis (artificial hip) is comprised of the following two components: 

  • Metal stem component
  • Metal or ceramic ball component
  • Metal or plastic (backed with metal) socket component 

A traditional hip replacement involves an incision (cut) about 6 to 8 inches long over the hip joint. Newer approaches and techniques have been developed that use one or two smaller incisions to perform the procedure, called minimal incision hip replacement or minimally invasive hip replacement. However, the minimally invasive procedure is not suited for all candidates for hip replacement. The doctor will determine the best procedure for a person, based on that individual's situation. 

While undergoing surgery, the patient may be under general anesthesia or sedated with spinal anesthesia. 

What happens after hip surgery? 

Hip replacement surgeries usually require an in-hospital stay of 2-3 days. At Missouri Baptist we consider our patients “well” and require that they be an active participant in their care. Post-surgery they rise early to bathe and dress in street clothes before breakfast and then work aggressively with physical therapy throughout the day. 

The incision will have stitches or staples that will be removed after a few weeks. 

Making certain modifications to your home may help you during your recovery. These modifications include the following: 

  • Proper handrails along all stairs
  • Safety handrails in the shower or bath
  • Shower bench or chair
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Stable chair with firm seat cushion and firm back with two arms, which will allow your knees to be positioned lower than your hips
  • Long-handled sponge and shower hose
  • Dressing stick
  • Sock aid
  • Long-handled shoe horn
  • Reaching stick to grab objects
  • Firm pillows to raise the hips above the knees when sitting
  • Removing loose carpets and electrical cords that may cause you to trip

How soon can I return to normal activities?

In the first couple of weeks after surgery, you may need to use a walking aid such as a cane, crutches or walker. You should be able to return to normal activities within a few weeks. However, you should avoid certain high impact activities like running or basketball, and focus on lower impact activities such as walking, golfing and bicycling. Talk to your doctor about the activities best suited for you.

How long will my new hip last?

This varies for each person. The replacement’s durability partly depends on how the hip joint is used. For instance, high stress activities may reduce the life of the replacement. Additionally, implant loosening and wear on the plastic portions of the implant may require surgery to replace overused parts.

To locate a specialist in hip replacement surgery, or to schedule an appointment, call MoBap at 314-996-3627 or email us.

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