Hip Replacement Frequently Asked Questions

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(888) 978-4611

orthoaccess@uwhealth.org

 

Should I Have Surgery?

Hip Replacement Surgery Primer

 

Where is my surgery?

Orthopedic Surgery Clinic at University Hospital | Map

What type of hip replacement surgery do you offer?

 

UW Health orthopedic surgeons continue to evaluate and refine current and new methods of total hip replacement surgery.

 

After an evaluation, a treatment recommendation is made based on each patient's individual needs and conditions. In hip replacement surgery, the hip can be reached through the side of the hip (posterolateral, anterolateral or lateral), the front of the leg (anterior) or the back of the hip (posterior), or through a combination of these.

 

In some cases, robotic-assisted surgery is used. Some patients may be able to have both (bilateral) hips replaced at the same time or have same-day (outpatient) hip replacement surgery.

 

Total Hip Replacement

 

What is a total hip replacement?

 

A total hip replacement is surgery where a doctor surgically removes a painful hip joint with arthritis and replaces it with an artificial joint made from metal, plastic and ceramic. It is usually done when all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief. The goal is to improve pain and function.

 

What are the signs you might need a total hip replacement?

 

If nothing you have tried has improved hip pain or made it easier to move around, it might be time to consider a hip replacement. Other signs you might need a hip replacement are:

  • Pain medication and physical therapy don't work
  • Hip pain affects your day-to-day activities and mood
  • Your hip hurts even when you are resting
  • You have ruled out the pain being from another area of your body
  • Your hip joint is damaged
  • You have severe arthritis in your hip
  • Stiffness makes it hard to move or lift your leg
  • Pain at night

What are the benefits of a total hip replacement?

 

Relief from pain is the greatest benefit and the major reason for hip replacement surgery. Hip replacement offers benefits such as:

  • Improved movement, strength and coordination of the torso and leg
  • The ability to walk, climb stairs and maintain an active lifestyle in greater comfort

What are the risks of total hip replacement surgery?

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Hip fracture or joint dislocation
  • Change in leg length

How do I prepare for surgery?

 

Before your joint replacement surgery, talk to your doctor. Learn what to expect before, during and after surgery so you can be prepared both physically and mentally.

 

The UW Health joint replacement surgeons and orthopedic team have developed a care plan to guide you through your preparation, hospital stay and recovery from surgery.

 

Step 1: Your Care Team and Support Person
Our goal is to provide you with the care and support you need to get through your joint replacement and back to the things you love to do. A Total Joints Nurse Coordinator is available to ensure a smooth transition from surgery to recovery. We also encourage you to choose a family member or friend who can act as a personal support person or "coach" as you go through the joint replacement process.

 

Step 2: Joints 101
Joints 101 is a pre-surgery class that gives you and your support person the opportunity to learn what to expect throughout the joint replacement process. You will get information to prepare you for your joint replacement, learn what your rehabilitation will be like, meet other people going through joint replacement surgery and have an opportunity to get your questions answered. Your attendance is strongly encouraged.

 

Step 3: TotalCare for Surgery Patients
Patients who are scheduled for surgery have access to this free online educational system that provides you and anyone you designate with information before and after surgery. TotalCare includes checklists and reminders to guide you through the joint replacement process, educational materials, informative videos and patient self-reports that provide your orthopedic team with feedback.

 

What happens after surgery?

 

Shortly after surgery you will begin to stand and walk using an assistive device (walker or crutches). For the next six weeks you will follow some post-surgery precautions.

 

Precautions include:

  • Do not cross your thighs or knees
  • Do not flex hip more than 90 degrees at any time
  • The knee should never be higher than the hip while sitting
  • Do not let the hip or thigh turn inward
  • Avoid heavy lifting

How long does it take to recover from total hip replacement?

 

Exact recovery time is different for each person. Most patients are able to care for themselves and resume daily activities between four and six weeks following surgery. Driving is usually possible between three and six weeks providing that specific rehabilitation goals are met and the patient is no longer taking narcotic pain medications. It may take between six months to a year to fully recover.

 

Partial Hip Replacement

 

What is a partial hip replacement?

 

A partial hip replacement removes and replaces the ball of the hip joint. It does not replace the socket. This surgery is most often done to repair certain types of hip fractures.

 

What are the signs you need a partial hip replacement?

 

If nothing you have tried has improved hip pain or made it easier to move around, it might be time to consider a hip replacement. Other signs you might need a hip replacement are:

  • Pain medication and physical therapy don't work
  • Hip pain affects your day-to-day activities and mood
  • Your hip hurts even when you are resting
  • You have ruled out the pain being from another area of your body
  • Your hip joint is damaged
  • You have severe arthritis in your hip
  • Stiffness makes it hard to move or lift your leg
  • Pain at night

What are the benefits of a partial hip replacement?

 

Relief from pain is the greatest benefit and the major reason for hip replacement surgery. Hip replacement offers benefits such as:

  • Improved movement, strength and coordination of the torso and leg
  • The ability to walk, climb stairs and maintain and active lifestyle in greater comfort

What are the risks of a partial hip replacement?

  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Hip fracture or joint dislocation
  • Change in leg length

How do I prepare for surgery?

 

Before your joint replacement surgery, talk to your doctor. Learn what to expect before, during and after surgery so you can be prepared both physically and mentally.

 

The UW Health joint replacement surgeons and orthopedic team have developed a care plan to guide you through your preparation, hospital stay and recovery from surgery.

 

Step 1: Your Care Team and Support Person
Our goal is to provide you with the care and support you need to get through your joint replacement and back to the things you love to do. A Total Joints Nurse Coordinator is available to ensure a smooth transition from surgery to recovery. We also encourage you to choose a family member or friend who can act as a personal support person or "coach" as you go through the joint replacement process.

 

Step 2: Joints 101
Joints 101 is a pre-surgery class that gives you and your support person the opportunity to learn what to expect throughout the joint replacement process. You will get information to prepare you for your joint replacement, learn what your rehabilitation will be like, meet other people going through joint replacement surgery and have an opportunity to get your questions answered. Your attendance is strongly encouraged.

 

Step 3: TotalCare for Surgery Patients
Patients who are scheduled for surgery have access to this free online educational system that provides you and anyone you designate with information before and after surgery. TotalCare includes checklists and reminders to guide you through the joint replacement process, educational materials, informative videos and patient self-reports that provide your orthopedic team with feedback.

 

What happens after surgery?

 

Shortly after surgery you will begin to stand and walk using an assistive device (walker or crutches). For the next six weeks you will follow some post-surgery precautions.

 

Precautions include:

  • Do not cross your thigh or knees
  • Do not flex hip more than 90 degrees at any time
  • The knee should never be higher than the hip while sitting
  • Do not let the hip or thigh turn inward
  • Avoid heavy lifting

Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

 

During minimally invasive hip replacement, your surgeon makes an incision to access your hip bone and thigh bone. The surgeon then removes the damaged femoral head and replaces it with a smooth metal stem that attaches to the rest of the thigh bone. Your surgeon also removes the damaged bone and cartilage within the socket of the hip bone, replacing it with a metal shell. Then the new femoral head can move inside the new smooth socket of the hip bone.

 

Minimally invasive total hip replacement often takes place under spinal or general anesthesia and the incision is smaller than traditional hip replacement.

 

Bilateral Hip Replacement

 

Some patients have degenerative problems in both hips and may consider having both hips replaced at the same time. This is called bilateral total hip replacement. Most candidates for a bilateral hip replacement are younger, more active, healthy and motivated to take part in an intensive rehabilitation program.

 

Robotic-Assisted Hip Replacement

 

UW Health offers a robotic-assisted hip replacement for patients with degenerative hip joint disease. Using a computed tomography (CT) scan of the damaged hip, a three-dimensional model is constructed.

 

During surgery, the surgical robot relays the information provided by the CT scan and guides the doctor in positioning the hip implant. The advantage of the robotic-assisted procedure is that it is more accurate and precise making the hip feel more natural following surgery.