hip replacement

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common and successful orthopedic operations performed worldwide. It is usually performed when the hip joint wears out, resulting in pain and dysfunction. Such deterioration in your joint can dramatically affect and reduce your quality of life.

Last year in Australia there were over 34 thousand hip replacements performed, with this number steadily increasing every year. The following section hopefully answers some of the commonly asked questions about hip replacement and hip revision surgery.

Why would I need a hip replacement?

The hip joint is one of the most important joints in your body. We rely on it to stand, walk, and do all our usual daily activities. It consists of a ball and socket joint with a smooth hard bearing cartilage. This cartilage is the key to the joint functioning well, if it becomes damaged the joint will become painful and stiff. The most common cause of damage to hip joint cartilage is osteoarthritis, but the cartilage can also be damaged by infection or trauma. If the cartilage is damaged the joint usually becomes painful and progressively more stiff. In some patients, this can be very severe.

Normally, the hip is replaced when you are getting severe pain on a daily basis and it is stopping you doing the activities you want or need to do. For some people this might be the inability to sleep without pain, others might no longer be able to walk the dog or play golf. The aim of any hip replacement is to remove your pain and stiffness and get you back to the activities you enjoy.

Are there any alternatives to hip replacements?

Absolutely! A hip replacement is the last resort.

For some patients, painkillers, injections, and exercises can provide temporary relief. If the hip joint is worn out and the symptoms become debilitating, then the only long term solution is a hip replacement.

How long will my hip replacement last?

As is the case with all mechanical devices, hip replacements can fail – this usually occurs when the bearing surface wears out and the components become loose.

The details of all hip replacements performed in Australia are recorded and analysed by the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry. This means that Dr. Hewitt (and thus you) have access to exactly how long most joint replacements last.

On average, at the 10-year mark, 94% of joint replacements are functioning well, and come 15-years this has dropped to 90%. That means, should you have undergone a hip replacement, you have a 90% chance of it still fully functioning 15 years after your original operation. Try getting that from the next motor vehicle you buy!

What is the difference between hip replacement and hip revision?

If a hip replacement fails or comes loose, a new hip replacement needs to be inserted. The operation to remove the old joint (also called the primary joint) and insert a new joint is called a revision hip replacement. This is usually a bigger procedure than the first operation and requires very careful planning.

What are the different types of artificial hips? What type will I get?

Most hip replacements are very similar and consist of a cup, bearing surface (that sits within the cup) and a stem.

The stem and cup are metal and Dr. Hewitt uses an uncemented system. This means the components are pressed into the bone, which then (in time) grow onto them, hopefully holding them in place forever.

The ideal bearing surface is hotly debated amongst hip surgeons. Metal on highly cross linked plastic performs the best on the Australian Joint Registry, which is why Dr. Hewitt uses this in most of his patients.

How do I prepare for a hip operation?

Once you and Dr. Hewitt have decided that hip replacement is your best option the rest is easy. His experienced staff will assist you in selecting a surgery date and booking in to the hospital.

Dr. Hewitt performs his hip replacements exclusively at Hollywood Private Hospital. In most situations, Hollywood Private Hospital will contact you prior to your operation for a pre-admission assessment. This may involve a short appointment at Hollywood where the nursing staff will answer any queries you may have and ensure you’re fit and ready to proceed.

How long will I need to be in hospital?

Most patients will stay in hospital for 4-5 nights. This time is spent optimising your recovery and beginning your rehabilitation. Dr. Hewitt and yourself will decide when you are safe and comfortable to go home.

If you have any further questions, or believe you require hip replacement surgery, please contact Dr. Benjamin Hewitt’s office to arrange a consultation.

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