Hip replacement, also called hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to address hip pain. The surgery replaces parts of the hip joint with artificial implants. The hip joint consists of a ball (at the top of the femur, also known as the thigh bone) and a socket (in the pelvis, also known as the hip bone). Hip replacement surgery includes replacement of one or both parts. The goal of the procedure is to allow you to resume daily activities and exercise with less pain.
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How Long Does Hip Replacement Surgery Take?
“How long does a hip replacement last?” is one of the most frequently asked questions by patients. Most patients are concerned about the amount of time they’ll be under the influence of anesthesia and the length of time for recovery. The truth is that with improved regional anesthetic techniques, you may not need general anesthesia during the surgical procedure. Here’s a guide to what goes on during an actual hip replacement surgery.
Typically, hip replacement surgery takes two hours. However, your operation’s timeframe depends on the severity of your condition and any complications that may arise during the operation. It also depends on whether you’re receiving a full or partial hip replacement.
What Happens on the Day of the Surgery?
Surgery can feel daunting, but we want to alleviate your concerns. Here’s what to expect on the day of your procedure:
Hip Replacement Surgery Preparation
You should come prepared and have attended some physical therapy sessions to prepare for the surgery. After you check in to the hospital, your nurses will take you to your room where you’ll put on your hospital gown. Your surgeon will meet with you briefly before you’re taken to the operating room.
You’ll receive either regional or general anesthesia or a spinal block and sedative medication. This is usually a simpler and better way of administering anesthesia without the complications sometimes linked to a general anesthetic. Using a spinal block also allows you to come out of the operation without feeling pain for close to 24 hours.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Your surgeon will make an incision. The length of the incision could be about 3 to 5 inches for minimally invasive surgery or 8 to 10 inches for a traditional incision. The incision gives the surgeon access to your thigh bone.
Then, the head of your upper thigh bone is taken off. An artificial cup then gets placed on top of the head of the bone after resurfacing the socket to remove any damaged bone surface. As your bone heals, new bone will form around the dome-shaped cup.
Next, your surgeon will add an artificial part to your femur bone. Before completing the procedure, your surgeon will test the motion of your artificial joint. Your leg will get stretched in different positions, and your surgeon will test the movement of the affected leg by bringing your knee to your chest and lifting your leg. Once the surgical team is satisfied with the movement of your operated leg, the incision will get closed with stitches.
Hip Replacement Surgery Recovery
After the surgery, you’ll go to your recovery room until you’re fully conscious again. This could take several hours, depending on the type of anesthesia used. You’ll be closely monitored until you regain full consciousness. Then, you can move to your hospital room. Normally, you’ll spend at least one or two days in the hospital before you’re discharged and allowed to go home.
While you’re recovering, your surgeon and nurses will check your wounds, lab tests and monitor your progress. You may also be allowed to start physical therapy sessions shortly after you leave the operating room. Starting physical therapy early can help strengthen the muscles around your hip and speed up the recovery process.