Possible Complications of Hip Replacement Surgery
A damaged hip from either an injury or arthritis can be very painful and limiting in mobility. Many people have selected to replace their hip by having hip replacement surgery. The procedure is usually done if other treatment options, such as medication, therapy, exercise, and using a cane or walker, have not worked. Even though hip replacement surgery might be an option in reducing the pain and restoring movement, there are some risks involved that people should be aware of when making the decision.
Total Hip Arthroplasty
Hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, refers to the removal of a damaged hip joint, which is then replaced with an artificial one. The hip prosthesis is made of metal or ceramic, and comprised of a ball and a socket. An artificial hip joint is designed to be accepted by the body, while resisting wear, corrosion, or degradation. Conditions that damage the hip joint can increase the necessity for hip replacement surgery. These include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, a broken hip, or a bone tumor. Also, osteonecrosis, when insufficient blood is being supplied to the ball of the hip joint, could lead to hip replacement surgery. Pain and the inability to participate in enjoyable activities are the two main symptoms that people are trying to alleviate with hip replacement surgery. The pain can keep people awake at night, or make it difficult to walk up or down stairs. Another symptom is having trouble when getting up from a seated position. In most cases, pain relievers or walking aids have had little to no effect.
Each surgery is accompanied by risks. Fortunately, hip replacement surgery is considered to be a safe procedure as it is successful more than 90 percent of the time. A majority of the possible complications can be treated, with the exception of some that are more serious. Rehabilitation is needed after the surgery to ensure a healthy recovery. Inactivity can cause blood clots. For hip replacement patients, the clots might form in the veins of the legs. Following the surgery, the lessened movement of the leg could be a reason for blood clots to appear. This is why a doctor would prescribe blood-thinning medications after a hip replacement surgery. Other options to increase the blood flow of the leg veins are exercise and elastic stockings. Infections are usually treated with antibiotics. They can take place around the point of incision and the deeper tissue near the hip. If the infection is major, an additional surgery might be needed to replace the hip with a new prosthesis. Minor fractures of the hip joint during surgery heal on their own, and surgery, wires, cables, and bone grafts can be used to heal larger fractures. The ball of an artificial hip joint may become dislocated. It is recommended that a person does not bend more than 90 degrees after having hip replacement surgery. Patients also need to be careful not to allow their leg to cross the midline of the body. A brace might be used to correct the displacement and stabilize the hip; in the case of frequent dislocations, surgery could be used as well. Breakage of the new hip is rare, but it would also require surgery, along with any loosening that could happen over time. Occasionally, a patient will notice that one leg is longer than the other after having hip replacement surgery because of the weakened muscles around the hip. When this happens, the person is at a risk of dislocation, and the muscles are strengthened and stretched for stability. Joint stiffing, although not normally painful, is another possible complication of hip replacement surgery. The condition is called ossification and it might make the hip difficult to move. Medications and radiation therapy could be used to prevent the joints from stiffening. A prosthetic hip might wear, depending on how young or active the person was when they had hip replacement surgery. Today, the implants are being produced with new materials to significantly reduce the need for a second hip replacement, or delay it for as long as possible. If a second surgery is needed, it should not be for many years after the first procedure. Check with your doctor to learn about the best ways for you to protect yourself against any applicable hip replacement surgery complications. Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hip-replacement/MY00235 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hip-replacement/MY00235/DSECTION=risks http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hip-replacement/MY00235/DSECTION=results