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  • Gleneagles Singapore

Total Hip Replacement (Total Hip Arthroplasty)

  • What is a total hip replacement?

    Total hip replacement

    Total hip replacement, also known as total hip arthroplasty, is an artificial hip replacement surgery that involves replacing the femur (head of the thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket) with artificial joint components. The artificial femur part (ball and stem) is made of strong metal or ceramic, and the artificial socket is made of polyethylene (durable, wear-resistant plastic) or metal backed with a plastic liner. The ball and socket are designed to glide together to replicate the hip joint.

    Hip replacement surgery is a commonly performed procedure with techniques having been improved over time. It may be done using the standard or by a minimally-invasive technique. The difference between the two approaches is the size of the incision made. The procedure can be completed fairly quickly and most patients stay in the hospital for 1 – 3 days after the procedure. As with any surgery, there are risks such as formation of blood clots, infection, and bleeding that your doctor will discuss with you before the procedure.

    Following a hip replacement surgery, physical therapy and rehabilitation will help you walk with a walker, crutches, or a cane within a few days. Continuous physical therapy and following certain precautions when performing daily activities will help in promoting a full recovery over the next 6 – 12 months.

  • You may need hip replacement surgery when arthritis limits your everyday activities such as walking and bending, resting without pain, or moving or lifting your leg without stiffness. Hip replacement is recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. Surgery is likely to be needed when you have little pain relief from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other treatments, such as physical therapy.

    The following are some of the conditions that damage the hip joint and may warrant a hip replacement surgery:

    • Osteoarthritis. Occurs due to wear-and-tear mostly in middle-aged and older adults causing damage to the slick cartilage that covers the ends of bones and helps joints move smoothly.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis. A result of an overactive immune system that produces inflammation that can erode cartilage and occasionally underlying bone, resulting in damaged and deformed joints.
    • Osteonecrosis. A lack of blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint owing to causes such as dislocation or fracture may result in the collapse or deformity of the bone.
  • Preparing for a total hip replacement surgery

    First, obtain a consultation with your orthopaedic surgeon for a preoperative evaluation. Your surgeon will ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination and any tests or imaging if necessary. Do also discuss any concerns and questions you might have with your surgeon during this meeting.

    During a total hip replacement surgery

    A total hip replacement surgery takes a few hours and is performed under general anaesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision over the front or side of your hip and removes any diseased and damaged bone and cartilage. The surgeon then implants a prosthetic socket into your pelvic bone and replaces the round ball on the top of your femur with a prosthetic ball.

    After a total hip replacement surgery

    After surgery, it will take several hours for the general anaesthesia to wear off. Most are admitted to the hospital for 1 to 3 nights. As there is an increased risk of blood clots forming in the legs, you are encouraged to sit up and walk with aid soon after surgery.

    Recovery period for a total hip replacement surgery

    You can take several precautions at home to facilitate quick and smooth recovery. These include limiting climbing of stairs, sitting in a firm, straight-back chair, avoiding falls, and using an elevated toilet seat to reduce bending. Avoid the following movements for up to 12 months after your surgery:

    • Pivoting or twisting on the involved leg
    • Crossing the involved leg past the midline of the body
    • Turning the involved leg inwards
    • Bending at the hip past 90 degrees, including squatting
    • High-impact sports and heavy activities

    With proper care after surgery, hip joint implants can last 20 years or longer. Ongoing improvements in surgical techniques and artificial joint materials may also make these implants last even longer.

    Risks associated with a total hip replacement surgery

    Hip replacement surgery is a generally safe procedure. However, as with any surgery, there may be risks associated with it. These include:

    • Blood clots in the leg veins due to limited walking during the initial periods after the surgery
    • Infection at the site of incision or in the deeper tissue near the new hip
    • Injury to nerves and blood vessels from swelling or pressure in the area where the implant is placed
    • Need for additional surgeries due to the loosening of the new joint over time
    • Dislocation of the ball of the new joint from its socket due to moving or resting in the wrong position
  • At Gleneagles Hospital, we offer total hip replacement surgery as a treatment for progressively worsening severe arthritis of the hip joint.

    Our surgeons are supported by a dedicated team of specialists in orthopaedics, including nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists working together to provide you with holistic care throughout your stay for your procedure.

    Quality, customised healthcare has been our legacy for more than 50 years, and we are committed to placing your needs at the heart of all we do.

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