Total Hip Replacement

F.A.Q.s | Frequently Asked Questions

Xray of both hips. The right hip has a Total Hip Replacement and the left hip is normal.
Xray of both hips.
The right hip has a Total Hip Replacement and the left hip is normal.

Anatomy | What is the hip joint?

The hip is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints. It consists of two main parts: a ball (femoral head) at the top of your thighbone (femur) that fits into a rounded socket (acetabulum) in your pelvis. Bands of tissue called ligaments (hip capsule) connect the ball to the socket and provide stability to the joint.

The bone surfaces of the ball and socket have a smooth durable cover of articular cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones and enables them to move easily.

A thin, smooth tissue called synovial membrane covers all remaining surfaces of the hip joint. In a healthy hip, this membrane makes a small amount of fluid that lubricates and almost eliminates friction in your hip joint.

Normally, all of these parts of your hip work in harmony, allowing you to move easily and without pain.

Can I treat my hip pain without an operation?

Hip pain can be improved by many different methods.

These include:

  • Medications. Such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories.
  • Changes to Activities. Modify the activities that cause you the pain.
  • Walking aids. Such as a walking stick or cane can help off-load the weight on your painful hip and should be used on the opposite side to the painful hip. For example, if you have a painful right hip, you should use the walking stick in your left hand.
  • Weight Loss. Losing weight can make you more mobile and help you with your symptoms.
  • Modify your house. Modifications to your house may help you cope with your symptoms.

All these methods should be tried before considering an operation.

Will my hip replacement activate the metal detectors at airports?

Some hip replacements may activate metal detectors at airports and some buildings. Tell the airport personnel about your hip replacement if the alarm is activated.

How long will my hip replacement last?

Most hip replacements last 10 - 15 years and some may last as long as 20 years. It is important that you look after your hip replacement and avoid high impact activities such as running, jumping or contact sports.

How long does it take before I can walk after my hip replacement operation?

Most people walk the day after the operation or in the first 3 days following the operation. You will usually need to walk with a frame after the operation and often need crutches for the first two weeks following the operation.

Do I need to tell my dentist that I have a hip replacement?

toothYes, it is important to let your dentist know that you have a hip replacement. You will need to take antibiotics before any dental procedure to prevent the possibility of a blood borne infection of your hip replacement.




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23 June, 2013