What are the first signs of needing a hip replacement?

Last Modified: June 17, 2024  |   Created on: September 23, 2019
Orthopedics

Hip replacement surgery can be a life-changing procedure for many patients suffering from severe chronic pain that limits their range of motion. Determining the right time for surgery to replace the damaged hip joint is an important and critical decision. It requires commitment to rehabilitation, lifestyle changes, and good health after the surgery in order to enjoy the long term benefits.

Hip Replacement Surgery cost in India

An orthopedic and joint replacement surgeon usually recommends hip replacement surgery if you are experiencing a persistent hip pain and difficulty in movement that restricts you from performing normal everyday tasks. Hip replacement is generally considered as treatment when the symptoms are not resolved by non-surgical treatment options –

  • Medication – Pain killers
  • Steroid injection
  • Physical therapy and exercises

Hip replacement surgery is a very successful orthopedic procedure that has proven to be a highly effective treatment for a damaged hip joint. The goal of this surgery is to provide pain relief and restore movement of the joint in the patient. The surgery results in considerable improvement in the quality of life of people with hip pain and enables them to have an active lifestyle.

If you are wondering how would you know you need a hip hip replacement, this page might be able to help you. Here are some indicators that can help you determine if you are ready for the hip replacement surgery are mentioned below.

Signs to look for:

  • A persistent pain in the hip that impacts the daily life of the person
  • Pain that makes it difficult to walk normal distances, sit or bend over
  • Limited range of motion of the hip joint and inability to bend down from the waist
  • Difficulty in sleeping or even resting due to pain
  • Swelling or feeling of soreness on the hip, thigh or even knees
  • Stiffness in the hip joint after sitting for long hours, for example, in a car seat
  • Problem in getting out of bath-tub or high chairs
  • Strain in climbing stairs
  • Medications fail to relieve pain
  • Cane or walking appliances are not helping

A person with advanced joint disease or injury may suffer from the symptoms mentioned above and can require surgery. It is also important to understand that the pain bearing ability is different in every individual and many people may not feel the need to consult the doctor for their hip pain and stiffness. 

But when the pain is persistent and severe enough that it makes doing even the everyday tasks difficult, then the hip damage is considered severe.. If the condition is severe enough that it cannot be managed by other alternatives, surgery should not be delayed. 

Waiting too long can result in loss of muscle strength and endurance and make it further difficult to go through the procedure. Hip replacement surgery is one of the most commonly performed joint replacement surgeries with a high success rate and remarkable results.

Hip pain and disability can put a lot of strain on the person, both physically and mentally. It is as important to look out for symptoms of depression, such as:

  • Feeling cranky or irritated most of the time
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Anxiousness or restlessness
  • Gained or lost weight

In such cases, surgical intervention at the right time can dramatically improve the quality of life as it provides the patient a chance to lead an active life. It allows the patient to enjoy normal activities like walking, hiking, gardening, and many more which will be difficult to perform without the operation.

Why hip replacement surgery is needed?

There are various kinds of diseases and medical conditions that can cause the above listed symptoms. A hip replacement surgery is recommended by the orthopedic surgeon if the person is suffering from any of the following conditions:

  • Arthritis – Osteoporosis is the most common reason for hip replacement surgery. In cases of severe arthritis, the cartilage that covers the ball-and-socket of the hip joint deteriorates resulting in pain and stiffness as the bones in the joint glide over each other.
  • Hip joint dislocation due to trauma or injury
  • Hip fracture
  • Bone growth related diseases
  • Avascular necrosis – blood supply to the femoral head is restricted because of an injury to the hip

The surgeon evaluates the patient before hip replacement surgery through a series of diagnostic tests including MRI, X-ray and others to assess the level of hip damage.

Other factors considered by the surgeon for a candidate are the general health of the patient, age, medical history, as well as assessment of their strength, mobility and endurance.

If you are a suitable candidate for hip replacement surgery, the surgeon will discuss the complications and risks associated with the surgery with you. Possible complications may include hip dislocation, allergic reaction to anaesthesia, blood loss, clotting of blood, infection, injury to nerves, and others.

How is partial hip replacement different from total hip replacement surgery?

The hip joint consists of a ball known as femoral head and a socket known as acetabulum.

Partial hip replacement is a procedure in which only the femoral head of the joint is replaced during a surgery. A new prosthetic implant is placed as femoral head (usually made of metal or ceramic) which then moves or rotates inside the natural socket part. The socket is covered with cartilage that acts as a lubricant and a shock absorber. This helps in distributing stress more uniformly within the joint. The artificial ceramic or metal ball is attached to a metal stem and is put in the socket against this cartilage.

The surgery is usually done to repair certain types of hip fractures.

In a total hip replacement surgery, the femoral head as well as the acetabulum socket are replaced. A prosthetic ball is put with a plastic liner into an artificial socket part. This is done to treat arthritis and other bone disease in which the bones of the hip joint deteriorates.

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How is hip replacement surgery performed?

Surgery for hip replacement can be performed traditionally (open) or by using a minimally-invasive technique. The difference between the two is the size of the incision and post-surgery recovery. The traditional approach involves a several inches long incision while the minimal invasive surgery uses one or two smaller incisions.

In a standard hip replacement surgery, patients are put under general anesthesia that will prevent them from feeling any pain during the surgery. A spinal anesthetic may also be used as an alternative to help prevent pain.

Depending on the type of approach, the surgeon will make an incision along the side of the hip and expose the hip joint by moving the muscles connected to the top of the thigh bone. Then, the ball part of the hip joint is removed and an artificial prosthetic is attached to the thigh bone by using either a special material or cement that allows it to attach to the remaining bone.

The surgeons then removes any damaged cartilage on the hip bone and attaches the prosthetic socket part to the hipbone. The artificial ball is inserted into the new socket part of the hip. The surgeons then reattaches the muscles and sews back the incision. A drain tube might be put in to help drain any fluid that accumulates.

The Minimally invasive technique is performed in a similar manner but with smaller incisions. The small size of the cuts provides many benefits, including minimal blood loss, less pain after surgery, shorter hospital stay, reduced scarring, and quicker healing.It’s important that this kind of surgery is performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon. The outcomes with minimally-invasive approach are known to be better when the doctor is experienced and extensively trained in this advanced surgical technique.

How long does hip replacement surgery take?

On an average, a hip replacement surgery takes around 60 – 120 minutes to perform. The duration of the procedure may vary depending on a number of factors, such as

  • Whether the surgery is partial hip replacement or total hip replacement
  • Complexity of the case or level of damage
  • Overall health and weight of the patient
  • Severity of joint osteoarthritis
  • The approach for replacement surgery (anterior or posterior lateral)

How is recovery after hip replacement surgery?

The patient is moved to a recovery area after the surgery where the medical staff monitors the heart rate, blood pressure, and other body functions.

Rehabilitation after hip replacement starts almost immediately. A physical therapist works with the patient soon after the surgical procedure is done. Early stages of rehab are considered to be critical so as to maintain range of motion of the new hip joint and to make sure that the patient can walk safely.

The patient is taught various important skills by the physical therapist that help in the movement, such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the car, to prevent dislocation of the new joint or causing pain.

As recovery moves to later phases, the therapist teaches exercises and motions to help restore normal gait, improve strength of the lower extremities, and enhance the mobility of new hip joint.

How much does a hip replacement cost?

Hip replacement cost depends on the type of method used for the surgery, approach of the procedure, and most importantly, type and quality of the prosthetic implant.
The starting cost of hip replacement in different countries:

India$3900
USA$40000
France$35000
UK$35000
UAE$11000
Thailand$7000

Hip replacement surgery in India is the most economical in comparison to other nations, even after including air travel, logistics and food expense. A person from abroad can save more than 60-70% of the money if they choose India for their treatment.

How long will a hip replacement last?

The common types of hip replacements are known to last more than 20 years. With proper activity modification (avoiding high-impact activities or sports), hip replacements can last for several years. Improvements in techniques and quality of implants has increased the lifespan of hip replacements over the past two decades.

Research has confirmed that 80 percent of the hip replacements were working well after 15 years in young patients (below the age of 65), and 94 percent of the older patients (above 65 years of age). If the new joint becomes damaged or non-functional, a secondary procedure known as Hip revision surgery is performed by the surgeon to rectify the condition.

What not to do after hip replacement surgery?

The post-operative care after hip replacement involves certain lifestyle changes and a regular exercise routine, to be followed religiously, to enjoy the long term success of the procedure.

You have to be patient and follow all the recommended precautions to ensure complete healing and recovery. Certain types of movements and positions can harm or put excessive strain on the prosthetic implant, causing dislocation of the joint. This means that the new prosthetic ball has gotten displaced from the artificial socket which were put in during the surgery. Although, the risk of such complications is low, it can be completely prevented by adhering to the instructions given by the surgeon.

Some general restrictions that must be kept in mind after a hip replacement surgery are as follows:

  • Don’t Cross your legs at the knees while sitting, standing, or even lying down. (or at least 6-8 weeks)
  • Avoid hip flexion over 90 degrees (right angle): Don’t lift your knee up higher than your hip or bend forward too much from your waist while sitting or as you sit down.
  • Don’t dress up while standing, rather sit on a stable surface
  • Don’t squat or bend to pick up something on the floor or reach out to pick something while you are sitting.
  • Avoid sitting on too low, soft or rocking chairs
  • Don’t stay in the same position for too long while sitting
  • Don’t straight away get up from a chair, but slide to the edge of the chair, and use support like arms of the chair or walker/crutches.
  • Avoid turning your feet inward or outward excessively while sitting or bending down.
  • Avoid reaching down to pull up the blankets while lying in bed.
  • Don’t skip out exercises or over-exert, follow the instructions given by the physical therapist carefully.
Vanshika Rawat

Written By Vanshika Rawat

Vanshika Rawat is an experienced content developer. She is very knowledgeable in the field of science and healthcare and has worked under brilliant scientists during her higher education. Vanshika obtained her degrees in Masters in Science and Bachelors in Science (Microbiology with Hons.) from renowned institutions - Panjab University and University of Delhi.
Dr. Surbhi Suden

Verified By Dr. Surbhi Suden

Dr. Surbhi Suden is one of the founders of Lyfboat and a doctor with a renowned name in the Medical tourism industry. She has been working with international patients since 2008 and is a deeply committed professional with a long term vision of transforming the current healthcare scenarios.
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