Hip Replacement in Northampton

x-ray of arthritic hip and The Corail Total Hip Replacement

(left) x-ray of arthritic hip                  (right) The Corail Total Hip Replacement

When is hip replacement required?

Hip replacement is indicated in cases of severe joint damage, usually as a result of arthritis, which is causing very significant pain and poor quality of life. If your specialist recommends this option to you, you will have failed to respond to simpler types of treatment.  Click here to find out more about arthritis.

Total hip replacement involves removal of the damaged bone of the ball and socket joint of the hip . A metal stem is inserted down the middle of the upper part of the thigh bone (femur), and a metal or ceramic ball attached to it. The socket is shaped by instruments to allow a new socket to be fitted, which has a hemispherical liner which is made of either high density plastic or ceramic. This perfectly matches the ball on the stem, recreating an ultra-smooth articulation.

About the Operation

hip-replacement-operation

Image showing X-ray of hip replacement

Once the decision has been made to go ahead with surgery, you will need to attend the hospital for pre-operative assessment a couple of weeks before your surgery date. These tests will ensure that you are physically fit for surgery, and also that you are free of any germs on your skin or in your urine which might put you at risk of developing an infection after your operation. MRSA is screened for routinely, and surgery will only proceed if you are not carrying this germ on your skin.

The anaesthetist will explain the details of your anaesthetic and ensure that you are comfortable after the operation. Usually, a spinal (‘epidural’) anaesthetic is used but occasionally a full (general) anaesthetic is recommended. You may require a blood transfusion after surgery.

Your surgeon will see you each day following the operation. The nurses and physiotherapists have extensive experience in helping patients to recover from hip replacements, and will ensure that you are safe walking independently with sticks and can manage stairs before allowing you home. It is usual to stay in hospital between three and five days, but some patients get home a little sooner.

There are no stitches to remove from the hip wound, but it must be kept dry for the first 10 days.

You will be given some exercises to perform at home over the next few weeks, and specific instructions on the precautions to take to avoid damaging your new hip joint. You will be followed up in the outpatient clinic six weeks after the surgery, when your surgeon will check on your progress. Return to driving a car and non-manual work is usual by this stage.

Thereafter, you will increase your activities gradually, improving your range of movement and confidence in your new hip.

Possible Complications

Hip replacement of any type is a major operation and as such carries a small but significant risk of complications. These include dislocation, infection, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Other risks are discussed in detail with you by your surgeon in the clinic. You will be able to ask questions, and are given a copy of the consent form which you will sign to show that the operation has been explained to you fully. It is, after all, ultimately your decision whether or not to proceed with surgery.

How long will my new hip last?

This will vary depending on the amount of activity it has to withstand and in particular the amount of weight it must support. If you are of average build and your activities involve unlimited walking but no impact-loading sport, your new hip should last well in excess of ten years. (Statistically speaking, for every thirty total hip replacements performed, only one will wear out and need to be replaced during the first ten years.)