About Hip Replacement
Hip pain can interfere with everyday activities, making it difficult for you to get around. There are several conditions that can cause hip pain, including arthritis, fractures, and injuries. In some cases, these conditions can be treated with nonsurgical methods. However, if conservative treatments do not relieve pain, surgery may be recommended.
If joint damage is the cause of hip pain, a hip replacement may help to alleviate symptoms. During a hip replacement, the damaged portions of the hip are removed and replaced with prosthetic components.
Anatomy of the Hip
The hip is a ball and socket joint, meaning that the ball-shaped end of the upper femur (thighbone) fits into a socket in the pelvic bone. The surface of the bones are covered by articular cartilage where they meet. Articular cartilage is a smooth tissue that cushions the bone and allows the joint to move smoothly. The synovial membrane surrounds the joint, secreting a small amount of fluid to lubricate the joint and reduce friction with movement. Ligaments hold the joint in place and provide stability.
Arthritis and other conditions can interfere with the normal function of the hip, causing pain and loss of function that interferes with daily life. In these situations, Dr. Cahill may recommend hip replacement surgery.
Candidates for Hip Replacement
Only a proper examination performed by a qualified specialist can determine if you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery. However, certain symptoms may indicate the need for orthopedic care and are often found in candidates for hip replacement. If you have any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you see an orthopedic specialist.
- Hip pain that interferes with everyday activities, making simple tasks like walking or bending difficult
- Pain that continues even while at rest
- Stiffness in the hip, particularly if it limits range of motion in the leg
- Symptoms that do not subside with nonsurgical treatment like medication, rest, and physical therapy
During the examination, Dr. Cahill takes a complete medical history and performs a physical exam to check for mobility, strength, and alignment in the hip. X-rays and other imaging tests like an MRI may be used to determine the level of damage to the hip joint.
Hip Replacement Procedure
During a hip replacement procedure, the damaged portions of the hip joint are removed and replaced with prosthetic components designed to mimic a healthy hip.
First, the ball-shaped end of the femur is removed. Dr. Cahill then inserts a metal stem into the hollow center of the femur. At the end of the stem is a metal ball, which replaces the ball portion of the joint. In some cases, the prosthesis is cemented into place. In other cases, the implant may be made of a material that allows the bone to grow onto the implant, eliminating the need for cement.
Next, the damaged cartilage is removed from the socket. The socket is then resurfaced with a metal socket. The metal socket may be cemented or screwed into place, or it may also be made of a material that allows the bone to grow onto it. A cup-shaped plastic liner is inserted into the socket to allow for ease of movement in the new joint.
Recovery from Hip Replacement
Physical therapy begins as soon as possible after surgery, often the day after or the day of surgery in some cases. Physical therapy is a critical part of recovery because it helps you regain strength and function in your new hip. Medications may be given to help you manage pain so that you are able to participate in physical therapy.
Physical therapy generally involves walking and other light activity, as well as stretches to help restore strength and function in the hip. The physical therapist may give you specific exercises to work on at home with the goal of helping you get back to normal activities.
It is important to follow all instructions given to you by Dr. Cahill following your hip replacement to achieve the best possible results following your hip replacement. Most patients are able to return to normal, everyday activities within 3 to 6 weeks of surgery, but some activities may be restricted.
Hip Replacement Surgery in Hackensack, NJ
Dr. James Cahill is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who has over 20 years of experience in joint replacement procedures, including hip replacement surgery. If you would like to learn more about hip replacement surgery or schedule an appointment with Dr. Cahill, please call our office at (201) 489-0022.