Every year more than 320,000 people have hip replacement surgery and The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery predicts that number will almost double to 572,000 by the year 2030. When treatment and lifestyle changes aren't enough to address the loss of mobility or constant pain, surgery can be the first step to a revitalized life.

Hip replacement surgery 101

First, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone and then inserts the replacement pieces to restore alignment, function and rotation capabilities. The replacement parts are either cemented or screwed to existing bone in the hope new bone will grow around the replacement parts, further stabilizing the joint.

What's the long-term outlook?

Although implants are designed to last nearly 20 years, vigorous activities or not taking care of the hip joint can cause loosening of the bond between the replacement and bone. How long this bond lasts depends on a number of factors:

  • How well the surgery is done. This is most important. Choose a surgeon with a great deal of experience, preferably one who restricts his or her practice to joint replacement surgery.
  • The quality of your bones. The harder your bones are, the better the bond will be and the longer the replacement will last.
  • The materials in the implant. Small abrasion particles from the implant may play a role in your implant loosening. Plastic surfaces shed more particles than metal or ceramic ones.

How do I take care of my replacement?

Avoid high-impact activities like basketball, running, tennis and weightlifting as they can place stress on the replacement and cause premature joint failure. Also, maintain a healthy weight — every pound you gain adds three pounds of force on your hip. Low-impact exercises like walking and yoga will help improve muscular support around the joint and can also help you maintain strength and flexibility.

What's next?

With proper care, hip replacements can last many years after surgery. If you have any questions about getting the most out of your hip replacement, give us a call!

To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day.
For more information, visit Orthopedics & Joint Replacement.

Source: NIH.gov