Hip Replacements in Baton Rouge
Hip Replacement Overview
When the hip joint begins to degenerate due to causes such as arthritis, the damage can increasingly interfere with a patient’s day-to-day life and ability to perform common tasks. Pain, stiffness, and a decreased range-of-motion often become severe enough to warrant a complete replacement of the joint with artificial parts constructed of metal, plastic, and other durable materials.
Following replacement of the diseased and damaged joint, patients typically experience vast improvements in pain and the function of their hip.
Reasons to Consider Hip Replacement
Hip pain and stiffness that has become severe enough to interfere with daily life and that is no longer responding to less invasive treatments often warrants the consideration of a hip replacement procedure. Signs that a hip replacement may be in your future include:
- Diagnosis of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the hip
- Worsening pain that is not improved by medication
- Pain that worsens with mobility
- Inability or increased difficulty climbing stairs or standing up from a seated position
Hip Replacement Techniques
Depending on the patient, their condition, and the surgeon's preference, the approach for a hip replacement can vary. The three most commonly-used surgical techniques for total hip replacements include: posterior, anterior, and SuperPath.
- Posterior Hip Replacement – An incision is made along the side of the hip, and muscles are split and released around the hip joint to access the hip. The hip is replaced and muscles are repaired. Hips replaced through a posterior approach can have a longer length of stay in the hospital and higher rate of dislocation. In certain circumstances, this is still the approach of choice.
- Anterior Hip Replacement – An incision is made along the front (anterior) side of the hip. Instead of splitting muscles, the interval between the muscles is used, so no muscles need to be split/released. The hip is replaced, preserving the muscles, and has a lower dislocation rate and possibly shorter length of stay. Most patients go home the day after surgery.
- SuperPath Hip Replacement – A relatively small incision is used and hip muscles are minimally disturbed. Most patients have a hospital stay of 24 hours and are able to walk the same day with the use of aids such as crutches. The procedure is followed by a shorter rehabilitation period and because the procedure is done without a surgical hip dislocation, the joint is very stable and hip precautions are generally not necessary.
Risk Factors for Hip Replacement
While hip replacement surgeries have been performed with great success for quite some time, any surgical procedure comes with some level of associated risk. These risks depend on factors such as the age and overall health of the patient, as well as the surgical technique used. Potential risk factors of total hip replacements include:
- Blood Clots - It is possible for blood clots to develop in the legs following surgery. For this reason, your surgeon may prescribe blood thinners following the procedure.
- Infection - Any surgery carries a potential risk for infection. However, having a skilled surgeon and surgical team can greatly reduce this risk. In the event that an infection should develop, antibiotics may be used to treat it.
- Dislocation - Hip dislocations are more common in the first months following surgery. In most cases, these can be addressed with a temporary brace. However, should dislocations continue, a second procedure may be needed.
- Fractures - It is possible to sustain fractures to the surrounding bone during a hip replacement. In most cases, these are small and heal without additional intervention.
Hip Replacement Recovery
Surgery is only half the battle when it comes to a successful hip replacement. Follow-up care and rehabilitation are vital to ensuring the best possible results. Steps that may be taken post-operatively include:
- Taking Medication - Medications to aid in recovery may include pain relievers and blood thinners. Due to the potential risk of blood clots following surgery, there may be additional precautions taken as well, including pressure application and early mobilization.
- Activity - Exercises and activity are necessary components to help the joint strengthen and recover. It’s important to perform exercises instructed by therapists in the hospital upon return home. These exercises and stretches can speed the recovery process and help patients regain their strength, mobility, and range-of-motion. Formal physical therapy at home or as an outpatient is often not necessary.
- Following Home Recovery Protocols - A surgeon will provide patients with at-home instructions to follow as they recover from hip replacement. These may include activity restrictions or medications to take. It is important to follow these instruction precisely in order to maximize recovery efforts.