Joint replacement surgery is also known as arthroplasty. If your hip has been damaged by arthritis, a fracture, or other conditions, common activities such as walking or getting in and out of a chair may be painful and difficult, and your hip pain may affect your quality of life. Hip pain may be caused by age-related osteoarthritis, traumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis or a fracture. In cases where a patient is suffering from hip pain, Dr Khumalo may suggest a total hip replacement (arthroplasty) surgery or a half hip replacement – otherwise known as a hemiarthroplasty. Which of the two will depend on the cause of pain in the hip joint.
In most cases, a total hip replacement is done for degenerative conditions that affect the hip while a hemiarthroplasty is usually done for fractures that occur in younger patients. Hip replacement surgery is a major surgery. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the outcome of surgery with you, and while a total hip replacement (arthroplasty) is done for pain relief, high impact activities such as running, jogging and jumping will be advised against after such as surgery, and thus when appropriate, a hemiarthroplasty may be advised instead.
A half hip replacement
Under general anaesthesia, your orthopaedic surgeon will make an incision in the thigh near the hip so that the hip joint is made visible. Dr Khumalo will then remove the damaged femoral head from the acetabulum and the rest of the femur. The inside of the femur is then hollowed out to make space for the metal stem which is placed snugly inside. The prosthetic or artificial femoral head is then secured to the stem before the incision is closed.
A total hip replacement
During a total hip replacement, under general anaesthesia, your orthopaedic surgeon will make an incision in the thigh near the hip so that the hip joint is made visible. Dr Khumalo will then remove the diseased and damaged bone and cartilage, leaving healthy bone intact. He will then implant the prosthetic socket into your pelvic bone. The inside of the femur is then hollowed out to make space for the metal stem which is placed snugly inside. The prosthetic or artificial femoral head is then secured to the stem before the incision is closed.
Both of these procedures may take a few hours to complete. After surgery, you will be moved to the recovery room where you will remain until you wake from anaesthesia.
Recovery will depend on whether you had a half-hip replacement or total hip replacement. Your orthopaedic surgeon will be able to discuss rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any lifestyle changes that might be required post-surgery. Within the first few days, you will be advised to begin with physiotherapy to aid in the strengthening and increasing mobility of the hip joint. The duration of your therapy will depend on several factors, including your age and overall fitness. Dr Khumalo will advise that you resume normal activity within 4 weeks of surgery. Full recovery may take up to a year.
Lifestyle changes may have to be made after surgery as you may need to permanently avoid or reduce activities that require heavy lifting, climbing or high-impact.