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Hip Replacements

Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement

The hip joint is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints and is the point where the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvis (acetabulum) join. It is a ball and socket joint in which the head of the femur is the ball and the pelvic acetabulum forms the socket. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular cartilage that cushions and enables smooth movements of the joint.

Hip arthritis is one of the painful and common diseases of the hip joint caused by damage to the cartilage. Total hip replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits your daily activities.

Traditionally, total hip replacement will be performed through a 10–12-inch-long incision made on the side of the hip. A minimally invasive approach has been developed in recent years where surgery is performed through one or two smaller incisions rather than the single long incision as in the traditional approach. Advantages of the newer approach are lesser muscle dissection, minimal pain, quicker recovery, and faster rehabilitation.

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement. Hip arthritis is a common cause of chronic hip pain and disability. The most common type of arthritis affecting the hip is osteoarthritis which is characterized by progressive wearing away of the joint cartilage. As the protective cartilage wears down, the bone ends rub against each other and cause pain in the hip. It is more common in individuals aged above 50 years and tends to run in families.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of hip arthritis is dull, aching joint pain and stiffness resulting in limited mobility. There may be pain in the groin, thigh and buttock area and sometimes pain may be referred to the knee. Vigorous activity and walking for long distances can increase the pain and stiffness which may cause limping while walking.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by evaluating your symptoms, medical history, physical examination and X-rays. Sometimes, additional imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Surgical procedure

Surgery may be recommended in patients with severe cartilage damage and if conservative treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy do not relieve the symptoms.

For minimally invasive hip replacement, the surgical technique and artificial implants remain the same as traditional hip replacement however the difference is smaller incisions and minimal soft tissue dissection. The surgery is performed through either one or two smaller incisions. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

In single incision minimally invasive approach, your surgeon makes a 3–6-inch incision over the side of the hip to expose the hip joint. The muscles are minimally dissected to reach the joint. The femur is dislocated from the acetabulum. The surface of the socket is cleaned and the arthritic bone is removed using a reamer. The acetabular implant is inserted into the socket using screws or special cement. A liner material of plastic, ceramic or metal is placed inside the acetabular component. The femur or thigh bone is then prepared by removing the arthritic bone using special instruments and shaped to exactly fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral stem is then inserted into the femur either by a press fit or using bone cement. Then the femoral head component made of metal or ceramic is placed on the femoral stem. All the new parts are secured in place using special cement. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.

If the surgeon uses the two-incision technique, a 2- to 3-inch incision is made over the groin for placement of the socket and a 1- to 2-inch incision is made over the buttock for placement of the femoral stem. This technique requires longer operative time and is performed under X-ray guidance.

Advantages

The advantages of minimally invasive total hip replacement as compared with traditional total hip replacement may include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less trauma to the surrounding tissues
  • Quicker recovery
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Faster rehabilitation
  • Minimal post-operative pain

Post-operative precautions

After undergoing minimally invasive total hip replacement, you must take special care to prevent dislocation of the new joint and to ensure proper healing.

  • Avoid combined movement of bending your hip and turning your foot inwards
  • Keep a pillow between your legs while sleeping for 6 weeks
  • Never cross your legs and bend your hips past a right angle (90°)
  • Avoid sitting on low chairs
  • Avoid bending down to pick up things, instead use a grabber device.
  • Use an elevated toilet seat

Risks and Complications

As with any major surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with total hip replacement surgery. They include:

  • Infection
  • Injury to nerves and blood vessels
  • Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
  • Implant malposition
  • Fracture of the femur or pelvis

Outpatient Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery is the most common orthopedic surgery performed. It involves the replacement of the damaged hip bone (ball shaped upper end of the femur) with a metal ball attached to a metal stem that is fixed into the femur and attached to a metal shell in the pelvic region. Traditionally, the surgery was performed with a large, open incision and required the patient to stay in the hospital for several days. With advanced techniques, it is now possible to perform this surgery with significantly shorter hospital stays. Minimally invasive techniques such as the “mini-posterior” and the direct anterior approach involve smaller incisions and newer exposure techniques when compared to the traditional procedure. This type of surgery is less invasive to the tissues and bones and involves a much shorter hospitalization time, and in certain scenarios, the patient can go home the same day.

Indication

Total Hip replacement surgery is used to treat hip joint arthritis. This chronic condition is due to degeneration of the cartilage surfaces of the hip which may be damaged from trauma, autoimmune diseases and bone death just to name a few.

Procedure

The minimally invasive hip replacement technique allows surgeons to replace the damaged hip bones through a small incision. The incision measures around 3 to 6 inches compared to 10 to 12 inches for traditional surgery. The muscles and soft tissues are separated to expose the hip socket and femoral head, like traditional surgery, but to a lesser extent. The head of the damaged femur is removed and the hip socket is cleaned of all damaged tissue. The stem and ball portion of the implant are then fitted into the end of the femur. The hip is then rejoined and the surrounding tissues are brought back to the normal position. As the incision is very small, fewer muscles and tendons are traumatized.

Advantages

The benefits of minimally invasive hip surgery are:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less scarring
  • Less blood loss
  • Shorter hospitalization
  • Early return to work
  • Shorter rehabilitation
  • Less tissue trauma

Complications

Like all major surgical procedures, there may be certain risks and complications involved with hip replacement surgery. The possible complications after a hip replacement include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
  • Injury to nerves or blood vessels
  • Prosthesis failure
  • Hip dislocation

Posterior Hip Replacement

Posterior hip replacement with the “min-posterior” technique is a minimally invasive hip surgery performed to replace the hip joint. With this approach, a smaller incision is used to expose the hip and because most of the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the hip are spared, patients are able to have a quicker return to normal activity.

With the “mini-posterior” hip replacement, the surgeon makes the hip incision at the back of the hip. The incision is placed so the abductor muscles, the major walking muscles, are not cut.¬† This technique allows for excellent visualization of the hip.

Indications

Hip replacements are indicated in patients with arthritis of the hip joint.

Arthritis is a condition in which the articular cartilage that covers the bony surfaces in the joint is damaged or worn out causing pain and inflammation. Some of the causes of arthritis include:

  • Wear and tear
  • Congenital or developmental hip diseases
  • Inflammatory or auto-immune diseases
  • Previous history of hip injury or fracture
  • Increased stress on hip because of overuse

Symptoms

Patients with arthritis may have a thinner articular cartilage lining, a narrowed joint space, presence of bone spurs or excessive bone growth around the edges of the hip joint. Because of all these factors, arthritis patients can experience pain, stiffness, and restricted movements.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will diagnose osteoarthritis based on the medical history, physical examination, and X-rays.

X-rays typically show a narrowing of the joint space of the arthritic hip.

Procedure

A “mini-posterior” hip replacement surgery involves the following steps:

  • The procedure is performed under anesthesia.
  • You will lie on your side on a special operating table that enables the surgeon to perform the surgery from the side of the hip.
  • A small incision is made just behind your femur
  • The surgeon spreads the muscles and separates the soft tissues to gain access to the hip joint.
  • The thigh bone or femur is dislocated from the hip socket.
  • The damaged femoral head is removed
  • The acetabular surface is then cleaned out and prepared for the new acetabular component of the prosthesis
  • Then the new femoral component is inserted into the femur bone and the femoral head component is placed on the stem.
  • A liner made up of plastic or metal is placed inside the acetabular component to provide a smooth, gliding surface.
  • Once the artificial components are fixed in place, the instruments are withdrawn, soft tissues repaired, and the incisions are closed with sutures and covered with a sterile dressing.

Like the direct anterior technique, there are many advantages of the muscle sparing mini-posterior approach compared to traditional techniques and they include:

  • High success rate
  • Less muscle damage
  • Precise placement of implants
  • Allows excellent visibility of the joint
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Minimal soft-tissue trauma
  • Smaller incision
  • Less scarring
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Shorter operative time
  • Quicker recovery
  • Early mobilization
  • Quicker return to normal activities
  • Short hospital stays

Risks and Complications

All surgeries carry an element of risk whether it is related to the anesthesia or the procedure itself. Risks and complications are rare but can occur. Below is a list of complications that can occur following any hip replacement procedure:

  • Dislocation
  • Infection at the incision site or in the joint space
  • Fracture
  • Nerve damage
  • Hemarthrosis - excess bleeding into the joint after the surgery.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
  • Leg length inequality

Anterior Hip Replacement

Total joint replacement surgery is one of the most successful procedures in patients dealing with severe hip and knee pain. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the normal function of the joint and help patients resume normal activities.

Over the past few years, there have been great advances in the treatment options, implants, and minimally invasive techniques. Just like the “mini-posterior” approach, another advancement in hip replacement surgery is the development of the direct anterior technique. ¬†This has resulted in a dramatic improvement in patient outcomes.

What is direct anterior approach hip replacement surgery?

Direct Anterior Hip Replacement is a minimally invasive hip surgery to replace the hip joint without causing any damage to major muscles or soft tissues. Traditional hip replacement involves cutting major muscles to access the hip joint. Just like the mini-posterior approach, with the direct anterior approach patients are able to have more rapid recoveries compared to traditional hip replacement surgery.

Advantages of both anterior hip replacements include:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Minimal soft-tissue trauma
  • Smaller incision
  • Less scarring
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Shorter operative time
  • Quicker recovery
  • Early mobilization
  • Less postoperative restrictions
  • Quicker return to normal activities
  • Short hospital stays

Revision Hip Replacement

Revision hip replacement is a complex surgical procedure in which all or part of a previously implanted hip-joint is replaced with a new artificial hip-joint. Total hip replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits your daily activities. During total hip replacement, the damaged cartilage and bone is removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components. At times, hip replacement implants can wear out for various reasons and may need to be replaced with the help of a surgical procedure known as revision hip replacement surgery.

Indications:

A revision hip replacement is necessary in patients with the following conditions:

  • Increasing pain in the affected hip
  • Worn out plastic or polyethylene prosthesis
  • Dislocation of previous implants
  • Loosening of the femoral or acetabular component of the artificial hip joint
  • Infection around the hip prosthesis causing pain and fever
  • Weakening of bone around the hip replacement (Osteolysis)

Revision hip replacement surgery is performed under anesthesia. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision over the hip to expose the hip joint. Depending on the reason for your revision, the surgeon may need to exchange all of the components or maybe just the ball portion or the plastic liner.

  • Avoid combined movement of bending your hip and turning your foot inwards because it can cause dislocation
  • Keep a pillow between your legs while sleeping for 6 weeks
  • Never cross your legs or bend your hips past a right angle (90 degrees)
  • Avoid sitting on low chairs
  • Avoid bending down to pick up things, instead a grabber can be used to do so
  • Use an elevated toilet seat

Risks:

As with any major surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with revision hip replacement surgery. The possible complications after revision hip replacement include:

  • Infection
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture of the femur or pelvis
  • Injury to nerves or blood vessels
  • Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
  • Leg length inequality
  • Hip prosthesis may wear out
  • Failure to relieve pain

Total Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged cartilage and bone is removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components. The hip joint is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints, located between the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvis (acetabulum). It is a ball and socket joint in which the head of the femur is the ball and the pelvic acetabulum forms the socket. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular cartilage which acts as a cushion and enables smooth movements of the joint.

Several diseases and conditions can cause damage to the articular cartilage. Total hip replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits your daily activities.

Disease Overview

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement. Hip arthritis is a common cause of chronic hip pain and disability. The three most common types of arthritis that affect the hip are:

  • Osteoarthritis: It is characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint. As the protective cartilage wears down, the bone ends rub against each other and cause pain in the hip.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the tissue lining the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed, resulting in the production of excessive joint fluid (synovial fluid). This leads to loss of cartilage causing pain and stiffness.
  • Traumatic arthritis: This is a type of arthritis resulting from a hip injury or fracture. Such injuries can damage the cartilage and cause hip pain and stiffness over a period.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of hip arthritis is joint pain and stiffness resulting in limited range of motion. Vigorous activity can increase the pain and stiffness which may cause limping while walking.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by evaluating medical history, physical examination and X-rays.

Surgical Procedure

Surgery may be recommended, if conservative treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy do not relieve the symptoms.

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, a surgical cut is made over the hip to expose the hip joint and the femur is dislocated from the acetabulum. The surface of the socket is cleaned and the damaged or arthritic bone is removed using a reamer. The acetabular component is inserted into the socket using screws or occasionally bone cement. A liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal is placed inside the acetabular component. The femur or thigh bone is then prepared by removing the arthritic bone using special instruments, to exactly fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral component is then inserted to the femur either by a press fit or using bone cement. Then the femoral head component made of metal or ceramic is placed on the femoral stem. All the new parts are secured in place using special cement. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.

Post-operative care

After undergoing total hip replacement, you must take special care to prevent the new joint from dislocating and to ensure proper healing. Some of the common precautions to be taken include:

  • Avoid combined movement of bending your hip and turning your foot inwards
  • Keep a pillow between your legs while sleeping for 6 weeks
  • Never cross your legs and bend your hips past a right angle (90)
  • Avoid sitting on low chairs
  • Avoid bending down to pick up things, instead a grabber can be used to do so
  • Use an elevated toilet seat

Risks

As with any major surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with total hip replacement surgery. The possible complications after total hip replacement include:

  • Infection
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture of the femur or pelvis
  • Injury to nerves or blood vessels
  • Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
  • Leg length inequality
  • Hip prosthesis may wear out
  • Failure to relieve pain
  • Scar formation
  • Pressure sores

Total hip replacement is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures performed for patients with hip arthritis. This procedure can relieve pain, restore function, improve your movements at work and play, and provide you with a better quality of life.

Affiliations

  • Texas Orthopedic Hospital
  • Joe W. King Orthopedic Institute
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery