A traditional hip replacement surgery is where the top portion of the patient’s thigh bone is removed and fitted with an artificial ball, generating an 8 to 10-inch incision. This surgery is considered a “major” surgery because general anesthesia is used, meaning it comes with all the same potential complications.
Normally, the hospital stay is between 4 and 6 days, depending on the patient’s tolerance of the anesthesia and the post-surgical pain. During this time, the patient may be required to sleep with a wedge-shaped pillow between their legs to prevent the new joint from becoming dislocated.
If all goes as planned, gentle physical therapy begins the day after surgery and will continue, increasing in difficulty and intensity, for six months to a year after surgery.
During the length of the post-surgery recovery, patients are cautioned not to:
- Cross the affected leg past the mid-line of the torso.
- Turn the affected leg inward toward the torso.
- Bend from the hip.
- Bend forward from the waist.
If the patient does not follow these or other medical recommendations made by their doctor, it can cause the new joint to become dislocated, which will require an additional surgery to correct.
Other instructions may include:
- Minimal use of stairs.
- Choosing a straight-backed chair and avoiding recliners at all times.
- Eliminating potential slip-and-fall hazards from the environment, like throw rugs, clutter on the floor, etc…
- Use of an elevated toilet seat.
- Taking extreme caution around boisterous pets and children.
It is a common misperception that getting an artificial joint implanted is the equivalent of having a “bionic” hip. Unlike the fictional heroes, recipients of hip replacements do not gain extraordinary, “super” powers, nor is the artificial joint “robotic”.
Extreme sports and any other type of high-impact activity is strongly discouraged. Artificial hip implants are designed for normal day-to-day living only.
With the right care after surgery, and by following the doctor’s recommendations, an artificial hip joint should give 15 to 25 years of reliable service. (Most statistics point toward the higher end of that figure.)
What to look out for:
There are some types of hips currently on the market that are being researched by the FDA to find out if they are unsafe for patience. These are metal-on-metal hip implants and some are being found to fail at a much earlier rate and/or release metal ions into the patients body (called metalosis.)
If you have already had a hip implant and it’s a metal-on-metal hip implant it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor immediately to find out if you could be suffering from metalosis. There are currently many metal hip lawsuits throughout the country. If you have suffered the premature failure of a metal hip implant, it could be in your interests to seek legal counsel to protect your rights.Tweet