Indications, Recovery, and Cost of Hip Replacement Surgery | PreferredMD
Orthopedic Surgery

Indications, Recovery, and Cost of Hip Replacement Surgery

Procedure • By Biraj Patel

Hip replacement surgery, also known as total hip replacement, is a common orthopedic procedure designed to alleviate chronic pain and improve mobility. It's typically recommended for individuals with severe hip arthritis, injury, or other conditions that compromise the hip joint's function. This operation can be a game-changer, allowing patients to regain their quality of life.

Why get a hip replacement?

People opt for hip replacement surgery when they can no longer manage their pain with conservative treatments like medications or physical therapy. The procedure is a viable solution for those who experience debilitating hip pain, limited mobility, difficulty in performing daily activities, and sleep disruption due to hip discomfort.

Preparing for hip replacement surgery

Before you embark on this transformative journey, it's essential to be well-prepared. Your orthopedic surgeon will guide you through the process. Here are the key steps.

1. Consultation

Consult with the best orthopedic surgeon in your area to assess your condition and discuss the procedure in detail. This is your chance to ask any questions and address concerns.

2. Pre-operative assessment

You'll undergo a thorough evaluation to ensure you're fit for surgery. This may involve blood tests, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests.

3. Lifestyle adjustments

Prior to surgery, it's important to make your living space more accommodating. Consider installing handrails, a shower chair, and adjusting your home layout for ease of movement.

Hip replacement surgery cost

The cost of hip replacement surgery varies based on factors such as location, the hospital or surgical center, and the type of implant used. On average, it can range from $20,000 to $40,000, including surgeon fees, hospital charges, and implant costs. It's essential to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage.

Types of hip replacement surgery

The two primary types are total hip replacement and partial hip replacement. It’s crucial to consult your surgeon to determine the most suitable option for your condition.

Total hip replacement

Total hip replacement surgery, also known as total hip arthroplasty, is the most common type of hip replacement. In this comprehensive procedure, the orthopedic surgeon replaces the entire hip joint with prosthetic components. 

Total hip replacement is highly effective at relieving pain and improving mobility for individuals with extensive hip joint damage. It's particularly suitable for patients with conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or significant hip fractures.

1. Removing damaged tissues

The surgery begins with the removal of the damaged or arthritic portions of the hip joint, including the head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket).

2. Prosthetic implant 

After the damaged parts are removed, the surgeon inserts prosthetic components. These typically include a metal stem that is anchored into the femur, a metal or ceramic ball that replaces the head of the femur, and a plastic or metal socket that replaces the acetabulum. These components work together to replicate the natural functioning of the hip joint.

3. Stabilizing the joint

Once the prosthetic components are in place, they are carefully positioned to restore proper hip joint function. The surgeon ensures that the components fit securely and provide stability during movement.

Partial hip replacement

Partial hip replacement, also known as hemiarthroplasty, is a procedure where only a portion of the hip joint is replaced. This approach is typically recommended for patients who have experienced a femoral neck fracture, avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply), or other conditions where the femoral head is the primary source of pain and dysfunction.

1. Focusing on the damaged area

The orthopedic surgeon concentrates on the damaged part of the hip joint while leaving the healthy hip socket intact. This can be beneficial when the acetabulum is in good condition and doesn't require replacement.

2. Prosthetic implant

The damaged femoral head is removed, and a prosthetic ball component is attached to the femur. This new component articulates with the existing hip socket to restore mobility.

How is hip replacement surgery performed? 

Before the surgery begins, you'll be prepared for the procedure. This includes discussing the specifics with your surgical team, signing necessary consent forms, and receiving anesthesia.

Most hip replacement surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, which means you'll be completely asleep and pain-free during the procedure. In some cases, regional anesthesia, such as a spinal or epidural block, may be used to numb the lower part of your body while you remain awake.

The surgeon will make a carefully planned incision over the hip joint. The location and size of the incision may vary depending on the surgeon's preference and the surgical approach chosen. Common incision types include the posterior, anterior, or lateral approaches. Once the incision is made, the surgeon carefully moves through layers of skin and tissue to expose the hip joint. The muscles and tendons around the joint are gently moved aside.

With the hip joint fully visible, the damaged or arthritic portions of the joint are removed. This includes the head of the femur (the thigh bone) and the damaged acetabulum (hip socket). Special care is taken to preserve as much healthy bone as possible.

After the damaged areas are removed, the surgeon attaches prosthetic components. These components typically consist of a metal stem that's securely anchored into the femur, a metal or ceramic ball that replaces the femoral head, and a plastic or metal socket that replaces the acetabulum. These components are precisely positioned to recreate the natural functioning of the hip joint. The surgeon ensures that the prosthetic components are correctly aligned, securely fitted, and provide stability during movement. Proper alignment is crucial for the longevity and function of the hip replacement.

Once the prosthetic components are in place, the surgeon closes the incision with sutures or staples. In some cases, a drain may be placed to remove excess fluids from the surgical site.

Hip replacement recovery time and post-operative care

Upon leaving the surgical facility, you'll continue your recovery at home. It's crucial to create a supportive and safe environment. Consider installing handrails and making necessary home modifications to ensure you can move around comfortably.

You'll likely use assistive devices such as crutches or a walker to help with mobility while avoiding putting too much strain on the newly replaced hip joint. As your strength and mobility improve, you can gradually reduce your reliance on these aids.

You will have follow-up appointments with your orthopedic surgeon to monitor your progress. X-rays may be taken to ensure the prosthetic components are properly positioned.

While hip replacement surgery offers long-lasting pain relief and improved mobility, it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Staying physically active, maintaining a balanced diet, and avoiding excessive strain on the hip joint are key to the long-term success of the procedure.

Recovery timeline

The duration of recovery varies from person to person but generally follows a pattern:

  • 2-4 weeks: You'll see early improvements in mobility and pain reduction.
  • 6 weeks: Most patients can resume light activities with caution.
  • 3-6 months: By this stage, many individuals have significantly improved mobility and can return to more strenuous activities.
  • Up to 1 year: Full recovery may take up to a year, and it's common to see continuous improvements in strength and mobility during this time.

Discuss hip replacement surgery with the best orthopedic surgeons on PreferredMD

Hip replacement surgery can provide a new lease on life for those suffering from chronic hip pain. By understanding the procedure, preparing adequately, and adhering to the recovery plan, you can look forward to a future with less pain and improved mobility. Don't hesitate to consult with the best orthopedic surgeon to embark on your journey to a healthier hip.

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