What happens during hip replacement surgery?
If you have to undergo hip replacement surgery, you’ll probably want to know exactly what this operation involves. Our brief guidelines below provide the essential information you need about forthcoming surgery.
What’s involved in a hip replacement operation?
Firstly, before your operation you could be asked which type of anaesthetic you prefer and will be given the option of a general anaesthetic or epidural anaesthesia. With general anaesthetic, you’ll sleep throughout the entire operation, whereas epidural anaesthesia will numb the entire lower half of your body, although you’re still unlikely to be aware of what takes place. Epidurals tend to be recommended for patients with additional health conditions as they may cause less complications.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your hip surgeon will entirely remove your hip joint and the upper section of the thigh bone. This does involve making a cut of between 8-12 inches. The hip socket is then hollowed out to make room for your prosthesis. A metal socket will then be fitted into this hollow. The socket consists of a short, angled stem and has a ball on the upper end to fit into your hip socket. This may be fixed in place with acrylic cement.
If you are scheduled for a metal-on-metal hip resurfacing procedure, this is carried out in a similar way to the above, but less of the thigh bone is removed as the operation only involves replacing the surfaces of the joints with metal inserts.
Hip replacement involving minimally invasive techniques is a new development and surgeons will only need to make a small cut of around 4 inches. This new technique is not widely available for all patients, but it may reduce the post-operative pain experienced.
Most of the prosthetic parts used in hip replacement operations are fabricated from high-density polythene for sockets and titanium alloy for shafts. Sometimes the balls are made with cobalt, molybdenum or chromium alloys.
There are over 60 different sorts of prosthesis on the market, but you will probably only be offered a choice of a few options and your surgeon will advise which one would be best suited to your needs. Surgeons can opt for metal ball and socket prosthetics or ceramic products, which are longer lasting.
About hip replacements
Hip replacements are routine procedures, but you should be aware that all surgery does carry some risks and your surgeon should have already spoken to you about these. If you have any concerns about your operation, speak to your surgeon directly.
Mr Arun Kumar offers private hip and knee surgery in the Manchester and Cheshire areas. Get in touch if you require specialist advice or would like to benefit from his skilled orthopaedic services.