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Total Hip Replacement

Total Hip Replacement Facts

Total hip replacement (THR) is a treatment option for late-stage degenerative hip disease, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. THR is one of the most successful and common surgical procedures in orthopedic surgery. In addition to marked reduction in pain and improvement in sleep, most people regain range of motion, physical ability, and quality of life.

  • The hip joint is composed of a ball and socket, with the surface of each covered by cartilage.
  • A number of conditions and diseases can cause the cartilage surfaces to degenerate, which in turn leads to pain, stiffness, loss of hip joint range of motion, and disability.
  • Surgeons replace both the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) during total hip replacement surgery.

Risks of Total Hip Replacement

  • Infection: A small number of people can develop an infection with a total hip replacement. This complication can require further surgery to remove the prosthetic components and clean out the joint along with a course of antibiotics lasting six to eight weeks.
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT): A blood clot (thrombosis) may form in veins of your pelvis, thigh, or leg. After surgery, you will receive blood-thinning medication, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin), to prevent clots from forming.
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE): An embolism occurs when a clot breaks free and travels to your lungs. An embolism potentially can cause serious respiratory difficulty. The risk of having one is less than 1%.
  • Bleeding: As with any surgery, you will experience bleeding both during and after the procedure. You often will need a blood transfusion.
  • Nerve injury: You have a small risk of injuring the nerves that allow sensation and movement of your leg. Often this problem, if it occurs, will go away over time.
  • Anesthesia: Any type of anesthesia has risks associated with it. Discuss these with your doctor.
  • Fracture: Other bones may be broken during surgery. These breaks may affect your rehabilitation and require a longer hospital stay.
  • Dislocation: Your new hip will not move as well as a normal joint and thus can be dislocated more easily. You must be cautious not to sit too low or to cross your legs.
Last Reviewed 11/20/2017

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