What is involved with Partial Hip Replacement Recovery?
Partial hip replacement surgery is recommended for patients who suffer chronic pain from arthritis or have sustained a specific kind of fracture of the femur, which is hard to repair without surgery. If you’re considering undergoing a partial hip replacement, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect during and after the procedure.
At the Hospital
Depending on your overall health and the preference of your surgeon, you may undergo general or regional anesthesia during your operation. Your surgeon will perform the following tasks during the procedure:
- Expose the femoral (ball) portion of the hip joint through a small incision
- Remove the damaged or deteriorated parts of the femur
- Create a hollow area in the femur to allow for an artificial implant
- Place and secure the implant
- Adjoin the new implant with the pelvis (socket portion of hip)
- Replace tissue to their normal positions
After the anesthesia wears off, your pain will be managed with intravenous (IV) medications. You’ll also take medication to prevent nausea, infection, and blood clots. You’ll wear compression stockings to avoid blood clots. During your hospital stay, which usually lasts several days, you’ll be taught how to move your body to avoid dislocating your hip (staying centered, no twisting, no crossing legs or feet, etc).
Before you’re discharged from the hospital, you’ll need to show that you can safely sit, stand, dress and bathe yourself, and use the bathroom.
Common Side Effects after Surgery
The most common side effects of partial hip replacement surgery include:
- Pain – Pain is normal during the recovery period, but persistent and severe pain that can’t be adequately controlled with pain relievers can signal that an infection is present and requires immediate medical attention.
- Loosening or Dislocation of Hip Joint – Because the implant inserted into the hip socket is smaller than your normal hip bone, you’re at risk of the implant falling out of the socket. The implant can also cause inflammation to healthy bone and tissue, furthering the risk of dislocation.
- Blood Clots – Due to poor blood circulation in the legs after surgery, blood clots can form and cause a serious health risk. If a blood clot from the lower extremities breaks off and reaches the lungs, it can impair breathing. Seek immediate medical attention.
Recovery Expectations at Home
As you continue to recover from your partial hip replacement, you’ll notice a decrease in discomfort and increase in mobility as time goes by. You may need the assistance of crutches or a walker for a few weeks, but with time you’ll be able to take short walks and drive yourself if you’re no longer taking opioids for pain. Ice packs can help reduce pain after physical exertion.
Regular exercise and physical therapy will help get you back to regular activities. Most patients experience complete recovery six months after surgery.
Living with Your Partial Hip Replacement
Getting regular exercise is the best way to build the muscle strength you need to resume your favorite activities. Although golf, bicycle riding, and swimming are possible after a partial hip replacement, your doctor may discourage more stressful activities like running, tennis, and other sports that put extreme stress on the hips. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before undergoing other health procedures to protect the hip from infection.
If you’re experiencing hip pain, contact Dr. Lee E. Rubin for an appointment today in one of his conveniently located offices in New Haven, Guilford, or Milford. Dr. Rubin is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in all disorders of the knees and hips.