||T O T A L H I P R E P L A C E M E N T Q U E S T I O N S
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Once I decide to have the surgery, how soon can it actually take place?
A) Allow at least three weeks to prepare for the surgery. You may need additional examinations and testing, and you may need to arrange to donate your blood for the surgery.
Q) What materials will replace the bones in my hip?
A) The composition of the ball-and-socket may be a combination of metal (such as cobalt chromium and titanium), polyethylene, or alumina ceramic.
Q) How painful is total hip replacement?
A) Total hip replacement causes pain, but we use sophisticated pain management techniques. You will receive pain medications initially by injection and can expect the pain to diminish over time. A minimally invasive technique reduces the pain considerably as compared with a conventional incision and often only oral pain medications are necessary after surgery.
Q) What are the possible complications?
A) During your hospital stay, pneumonia and urinary tract infections are possibilities. Infections can occur any time after any surgery, so be sure to follow directions concerning antibiotics. Blood clots in the leg veins are the most common complication, but these can be prevented with medications and by using special support hose, inflatable leg coverings, and gentle exercises which begin soon after surgery.
Q) What if I can't go home immediately after surgery?
A) Unfortunately, many patients don’t have a healthy spouse or close family member at home to help them during the initial days and weeks after surgery. For those unable to depend on family or close friends, staying in a skilled nursing facility or rehab center for one to three weeks is an excellent alternative. By transitioning back into your home routine through a nursing facility, you’ll regain your independence more safely and comfortably. This, in turn, reduces your home-care needs to a level that friends or family can help you manage more easily.
Q) Are there important tips for post-joint replacement surgery?
A) It’s critically important to avoid situations in which you could fall or injure your joint. You will need special assistance for a few weeks, especially while you are regaining your balance, strength, and flexibility. Follow the instructions from your physical therapist regarding regular, light exercise. You will need to take antibiotics prior to dental surgery or any other surgery to prevent bacteria from entering your bloodstream. We prefer to delay dental procedures for four to six months after surgery.
Q) When can I return to sports?
A) Most patients who undergo total hip replacement are ready to return to extensive travel and light activities, such as golf, within six to eight weeks after surgery. More vigorous sports such as tennis, skiing, and bicycling may generally be resumed within three to four months. Swimming may be initiated as soon as the incision is fully healed.
Q) How long will my new hip last?
A) Most hip replacements can be expected to last 10 to 20 years. If you are overweight or extremely active, your new hip’s life span may be shorter. The use of the alternative bearing couplings such as ceramic-ceramic or metal-metal may prolong the life of the new hip over the more conventional metal/plastic couplings.