What is Total Hip Arthroplasty?

Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is performed when the cartilage lining the femoral head (upper leg bone) has become very thin or absent. The loss of this cartilage can be due to multiple reasons but most commonly no one source is clear. This procedure is performed when other attempts to address the pain, and loss of motion fail. You and your physician can discuss both causes and all available treatment in detail. In short, this surgery should be a consideration when you find you are giving up things you at one time enjoyed.

How Long Does Hip Replacement Surgery Take?

Photo Credit: ISMI

Total hip replacement surgery takes approximately 1.5 hours in the operating room. Most patients elect to have a spinal performed which is a near painless injection near the spine which results in the legs “falling asleep” so to speak. The patient is then given medication which allows a similar sleep to general anesthesia but does not require placement of a breathing tube as the patient is breathing on their own. There are just two main components to a hip replacement: a femoral stem and acetabular (pelvic) cup. Both are sized specifically to match the patient’s anatomy. Limitations following surgery are much less rigid than they used to be secondary to cup dual mobility.

Is Hospitalization Required?

Following the surgery, you will be transferred to a room where a nurse and physical therapist will assist you with walking. A walker is used to assist both with balance and weight bearing, although there are no limitations on the weight you place on the leg. Dual mobility of the cup has allowed for loosened restrictions but you should avoid any drastic motions such as to bend over and tie your shoe. Once your nurse is comfortable with your balance and ability to walk you will be allowed to discharge home. There are instances a patient may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

What Home Care is Needed After Surgery?

Photo Credit: ISMI

It is preferred that you have someone who can assist you at home for at least the first 24 hours. Someone who could get you a glass of water or fix a meal. You will have some home medications which will be discussed both during your appointment and prior to discharge. Aspirin should be used for the prevention of blood clots. You will have some home exercises to perform and would benefit from seeing a physical therapist within 7- 10 days of the surgery. Ducosate sodium is a good start for bowel care as it draws water into the bowel to prevent constipation. Prevention of any type of tripping accidents can be assisted by preparing your home prior to surgery. Avoid the use of throw rugs and moving any clear obstructions that would affect your safe movement.

How Soon Can I Be Active Again?

Often patients experience less pain immediately or days following the procedure than they had prior to it. It is important to avoid any extremes of motion but weight bearing is not limited. Most patients are very capable of most desired activity within days of their surgery. We will work closely with you during recovery to ensure the best possible outcome from this procedure.

To set up an appointment for further evaluation, please call (208) 336-8250.

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