If you are experiencing pain in your hip that is persistent and severe, it may be time to consult a physician and discuss what options are available to minimize your pain. It’s important to determine to root of the problem which could stem from arthritis, sciatica, nerve damage and so forth.
Hip replacement surgery is very common, especially in older adults. As we age, our joints and the connective tissue deteriorate over time, causing inflammation. Once the doctor has diagnosed the issue, then the proper corrective action can be taken. If your mobility is compromised, and over-the-counter medications and physical therapy have proven unsuccessful treatments, your doctor may suggest surgery.
What to expect with hip surgery
Anterior Approach Hip Replacement
Most people don’t look forward to having a hip replaced. But thanks to a less invasive technique that’s now available in Northeast Georgia, patients who must undergo the surgery now can expect a faster, less traumatic recovery.
Anterior Approach Hip Replacement is a major advance in hip replacement surgery. Using the this approach, an orthopedic surgeon is able to access the hip joint from the front of the hip as opposed to the back as the traditional, posterior approach requires. It is a tissue and muscle sparing surgery that has several advantages for the patient.
“Surgery from the front is less invasive and less damaging to the surrounding muscle and hip joint,” Dr. Michael Gottsman said. “As a result, patients experience less pain, recover quicker and leave the hospital sooner.”
Some potential advantages of this technique include:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Reduced hip pain
- Smaller incision
- Less invasive procedure
- Minimal risk of muscle trauma
- Faster recovery
- Decreased risk of dislocation
- More accurate restoration of natural anatomy
- More accurate leg length
One of the most exciting advantages of anterior approach total hip replacement surgery is the decreased risk of hip dislocations. Surgery takes place on a special surgical table which allows surgeons unprecedented access to the hip joint. Access to the hip only requires a small incision – about four inches in length. Unlike more traditional approaches, no muscles or tendons are cut. Because the surgeon is not cutting through muscle and the hip joint in the back, the hip is more stable and has less of a risk of hip dislocation. All the natural stability is preserved. The surgical table also allows much greater precision than in the two more traditional approaches.
Another advantage is the surgeon is able to more easily use X-ray to help him or her during the surgery. X-rays are taken during the surgery to ensure optimal placement of the hip prosthesis and more precise leg length restoration. This allows the surgeon to more accurately restore their natural hip anatomy and more accurately place the parts of the hip replacement.
Recovery from the anterior approach also has advantages. Patients usually go home the next day, and some even go home the day of surgery. With the more traditional lateral and posterior approaches, hospital stays can be up to two weeks. There are also fewer post-operative restrictions with the anterior approach. For most patients, that means walking and climbing stairs the same day as surgery. Most patients can expect to be back to their normal activities in about 6 weeks.
Posterior Approach Hip Replacement
Not every patient may be eligible for the anterior approach. If not, your physician may recommend the traditional posterior approach. This method is performed when an orthopedic surgeon makes an incision close to the buttocks to access the hip joint, bypassing primary leg muscles used for walking. The implant is inserted into the joint, resulting in a secure and reliable fit. Hip replacements can last 20-plus years because of advances in technology and are performed on roughly 200,000 people each year.
The traditional posterior approach has a strong record of success and a low complication rate. However, after surgery, your doctor may suggest certain “post-posterior precautions” which will prevent potential complications, such as dislocation, associated with the posterior approach. Recovery time after surgery depends upon the person and varies widely depending on age, activity level, weight and so forth, but with the posterior approach, recovery time can be lengthy and intensive.