Hip Replacement

Hip joints damaged by injury or disease (such as arthritis) can be extremely painful, making everyday activities like walking or sitting down painful. In total hip replacement, an orthopedic surgeon replaces an arthritic or injured joint with an artificial joint called a prosthesis.

Pre-Screening for Surgery

Both patient and physician must bear in mind that total joint replacement is an elective, not emergency, surgery. Therefore, it is imperative that your state of health be evaluated thoroughly before undergoing the procedure. Most patients will be asked to schedule a pre-surgical evaluation appointment at the Surgery Evaluation Center at either the Indianapolis or Carmel St.Vincent Hospital. A current history and physical is required. This can be completed by your primary care physician, Internist, specialist or attending surgeon. It can also be scheduled to be completed the day of your surgery evaluation visit.

You may be asked to lose weight, because extra weight puts additional stress on your new joint. Your physician may discuss adding or taking away some medications before surgery. You may also be asked to sop smoking to help decrease the chance of post-operative lung complications.

Hip Replacement Types

Two types of hip replacement procedures can be performed. One method is called the cemented method. Here, the prosthesis is secured in place with a bonding agent called bone cement.

The other method of securing the prosthesis is the uncemented or ingrowth method. In this procedure, the prosthesis is secured by the body's own bone growth. Your physician will determine which is most appropriate for you.

Cemented Hip

All the cartilage from the socket in the pelvis (acetabulum) and the ball (femoral head) of the hip joint are removed and replaced with an entirely new hip joint. An incision approximately 10 inches long is necessary for the surgeon to see into the joint and complete the procedure. The surgeon may use skin staples or sutures to close the wound. There are stitches under the skin, but these will dissolve. The skin staples or sutures will be removed in approximately 10 days.

Ingrown Hip

This procedure is the same except an ingrown hip uses no cement to fixate the joint and a different kind of prosthesis is used. It requires a very close fit of the components in the joint. The patient's bone grows into a porous material on the prosthesis to form a bond. Because this requires good quality bone, not every patient is a candidate for this type of artificial hip joint.

Your surgeon will discuss with you the decision regarding the use of a cemented or cementless prosthesis. Under certain circumstances, however, the decision can only be made at the time of surgery.

An artificial joint will help to restore the mobility of a degenerated joint as well as relieve the pain associated with this immobility. It does, however, require some special precautions following surgery to allow the hip adequate time to heal. These precautions will be explained during the education portion of your Patient Education Review by the physical therapist who will work with you after surgery. Instructions will also be explained in the literature you receive prior to surgery.