Advanced Arthritis of the Hip

Joint Replacement Surgery for Arthritis of the Hip

What is advanced arthritis of the hip?

Hip osteoarthritis is a wear and tear condition where the cartilage wears out in the hip socket.  After a period of time, the cartilage can be worn completely down, leaving direct bone on bone contact.  This leads to pain in the groin and thigh and is associated with decreased range of motion.

How does it occur?

Advanced arthritis is a wear and tear condition that happens over a period of year due to overuse or prior trauma.  This condition is more common as you age, but injuries and weight are common factors.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of end stage arthritis are pain (around your front pocket on the affected side), decreased range of motion with internally or externally rotating your hip, and grinding with movement of your hip.  Putting on clothes, socks, shoes, and getting into automobiles becomes difficult.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis is done with a thorough history and physical exam.  X-rays will be taken and can show signs such as joint space narrowing, sclerotic changes to bone, and osteophyte (bone spur) formation around the joint.  MRI is not normally needed, but may show other pathologies in certain cases.

How is it treated?

In early stages, conservative therapies may be helpful.  Ice and anti-inflammatory medications can help with pain.  Riding a recumbent bike will help polish and lubricate your joints, reducing pain.  This will also help in losing weight, which will reduce pain and may eliminate the need for surgery.  However, once cartilage is gone, it will not grow back.  At one point the only way to get rid of your pain is to remove the diseased bone and remaining cartilage and replacing them with metal and plastic prosthetics; this is referred to a Total Hip Replacement.  This will restore your range of motion and eliminate the source of pain, bone on bone contact.  Total hip replacement surgery is a very commonly done procedure and is effective in over 90% of cases.  Destruction of cartilage is painful, so when this is replaced with the implant, you get immediate relief.

What is the recovery time?

With Minimally Invasive Techniques, some patients are able to go home the same day of surgery.  If you do stay in the hospital, you will likely go home the next day.  You will walk with a walker a few hours after surgery and start physical therapy that same day.  Once home, you will do home exercises 3 times a day.  Written instruction on home exercises are given the day you schedule surgery and day of surgery.  Most of our patient have a full recovery with doing the home exercises alone.  However, outpatient physical therapy is available if you prefer.  We will evaluate you at your 2-week follow-up appointment and may refer you to a therapist at that time.  Most patients use a walker for a couple weeks, with a full recovery in 6-12 weeks.  In some instances, patients are able to walk free of support in 3-7 days, depending on individual pre-operative profile.  This is why pre-op education and prehabilitation can be helpful.

We are here to help. If you believe you are suffering from one of these conditions, we would love to deliver a diagnosis, get you treated and get you moving again.

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