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guide to total hip replacement

An Expat Guide to Total Hip replacement

Total hip replacement (also known as total hip arthroplasty) is one of the most common surgical procedures with a high success rate in many countries. It is often a solution to expats who have arthritis and osteoarthritis and various forms of this disease.  

Here we have compiled a guide on the ins and outs of total hip arthroplasty

What is total hip arthroplasty? 

The definition of total hip arthroplasty is a surgical procedure where a doctor replaces your damaged bones in a hip joint with an artificial hip.  In the past orthopedic surgeons performed hip replacement surgery in traditional approaches, namely, posterior hip replacement (making a cut behind your hip) and lateral hip replacement (making a cut on the side of your hip. 

These days anterior hip replacement (anterior hip arthroplasty) have become more popular than the two approaches mentioned above. Orthopedic surgeons performed the anterior approach by inserting your hip from the front which is less harmful to muscles and tendons around your hip. This also results in a quicker total hip replacement recovery in a sense that you can have total anterior hip arthroplasty in the morning and go home in the evening. It can frequently be considered as an outpatient treatment method. 

Total Hip Replacement Surgery 

Getting ready for your total hip replacement surgery is as important as avoiding certain activities after your total hip arthroplasty surgery. Here are the pre-operative things you can do to get ready beforehand.  

• Make sure you carefully read a consent form that allows the surgery to happen. Do not hesitate to ask questions if something is unclear to you. 

• Inform your medical provider whether you have any kinds of allergy, be it anesthesia, medicines, tape or latex. 

• Inform your medical provider about all the medicines (including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and even herbal supplements) you are taking.  

• Inform your medical provider whether you have had any bleeding disorders. Additionally, if you are taking medicines in relation to blood clotting, you are recommended to avoid taking these medicines prior to your total hip replacement surgery. 

• Inform your medical provider whether you are expecting a baby or believe you are probably an expectant mother. 

• Bear in mind that you will be requested to abstain from food and drinks for 8 hours. 

• Prior to your surgery, your orthopedic surgeon may give you a tranquilliser to make you more relaxed. 

• A physical therapist may meet up with you to discuss post-operative rehabilitation prior to your surgery. 

• Do refrain from smoking before you undergo your surgery as this is going to speed up your total hip replacement recovery. 

• If possible, reduce your weight. 

• Perform conditioning exercises as medically advised to make your muscles stronger. 

• Assign somebody as your assistant to help you do your house chores for a couple of weeks following your hospital discharge. 

Total Hip Replacement Recovery 

Following your total hip replacement surgery, pay careful attention of the instructions of your medical team. Treating your wound and exercise are your top priority here. 

It is advisable that you clean and dry the spot of surgical cut for at least three weeks. The dressing on the wound may need to be replaced when you stay at home.  

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Time 

Studies indicated that the majority of patients recovered fairly quickly after their total hip replacement surgery within the first three to four months. Then they would experience enhancements at a slower pace until they reached the duration of a year. 

Provided that quick improvement does not happen in the first three to four months right after surgery or there is no further progress within the first year, then you need to get a medical evaluation from your doctor. This assessment would help you decide whether total hip replacement exercises or other versions of post-operative rehabilitation would assist in your recovery.  

Total Hip Replacement Exercises 

With reference to AAOS, here are ways to help you recover from your surgery faster as well as avoid blood clots: 

Knee bends 

During your lie-down, bend your knee, your heel on the bed. Move your foot toward your buttocks and your knees need to remain centered. Then keep bending your knee for about ten seconds and then drop it. Do this for one of your knees. Next repeat with the other. Do it three to four times on a daily basis for both legs. 

Ankle rotations  

Move your ankle outwards and inwards your other foot. Do this for one ankle and then repeat with the other. Do this 3 to 4 times a day. 

Ankle pumps 

During your lie-down, move your foot up and down slowly several times. Do this slowly for one foot and repeat with the other. Do this exercise every few minutes. 

In accordance with a 2019 study, individuals who continuously lifted their degree of exercise over the duration of their recovery were more delighted with their outcomes, in contrast with those who did proceed to boost the level of their exercise. 

Overall, bear in mind that you have to collaborate with your physical therapist when it comes to the level of these exercises. 

Precautions for Total Hip Replacement 

After your surgery of total hip replacement, it is recommended that you follow the tips below:  

Hip and knee movement 

You need to avoid bending your hip up too much or raise your knee too high. Typically, you have to keep your thigh below the parallel line in comparison to the floor. You must not be seated in a low chair and must not bend your knee and hip up to wear a sock, otherwise you will violate the hip flexion past 90-degree rule here. Also, you will risk dislocating your hip. 

Leg adduction 

During your lie-down, it is important not to cross one of your legs over the other one. You need to use a special wedge known as an abduction pillow so your legs remain separated. 

Hip rotation 

You are advised to avoid rotating your hip toward the inside otherwise hip dislocation may happen. While you are sitting, standing or lying, your toes must remain straight ahead or rotated outwards to only a small degree. During your walk, keep in mind that you need to avoid rotating your body over your foot on the ground. Otherwise, the internal rotation of your hip may happen. 

Your orthopedic doctor will let you know when you do not have to abide by Precautions for Total Hip Replacement anymore. Typically, you have to follow post-operative total hip replacement precautions for about 90 days. 

In some cases, you need to conform to precautions for total hip replacement for approximately half a year, whereas in others, you need to follow the rules for merely two months.  

Factors related to this include your mobility and health before your total hip replacement surgery, the surgery complications and the level of your rehabilitation and recovery after your surgery.