Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a leading provider of partial and total hip joint replacement surgery services. Last year, our orthopaedic surgeons used their experience and expertise to help improve the quality of life of 500 patients suffering from severe hip damage.
Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to replace or restore a damaged joint to ease pain and improve mobility, thereby improving the patient’s quality of life. Artificial materials, such as metal, polyethylene, or ceramics, are used to either resurface the hip joint, replacing unhealthy parts of the hip and keeping healthy parts, or replace it totally, including bone and cartilage, with a prosthesis (an artificial joint).
Visit the Hip Replacement Surgery health library page to get more information on what to expect before, during and after the surgery.
A healthy ball-and-socket hip joint – with cartilage that absorbs stress and allows the ball to glide freely in the socket – enables a person to walk, squat and rotate without pain. However, a person with an unhealthy hip joint is likely to experience pain when moving and may even feel pain when standing still.
The hip, like the knee, bears a lot of weight, making it particularly susceptible to the debilitating effects of arthritis – osteoarthritis, which wears down cartilage, or rheumatoid arthritis, tissue inflammation leading to the destruction of cartilage and bone. These conditions, as well as a hip fracture that doesn’t heal properly or necrosis (bone decay), can lead to severe joint stiffness and pain.
Doctors will typically start treatment by using one or more alternative medical interventions, including arthroscopy, to try to alleviate your hip pain without joint replacement surgery. If these prove to be unsuccessful, your doctor will then consider factors such as your age, weight, and quality of life goals to determine whether you would benefit from a hip replacement. The prosthesis, despite its range of motion limitations, can help to stop or reduce joint pain, increase leg strength and improve your quality of life.
A hip replacement generally takes about 2-3 hours, followed by a 4-day stay in the hospital. Recovery largely depends on your general health before the surgery. Most hip replacement recipients experience pain relief and/or improved movement relatively soon, but then need several months to recover their normal strength and energy accompanied by physical therapy.
Your physician will give you instructions throughout your recovery, but below is an overview of what you should and shouldn’t do to improve the quality and speed of your recovery.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopaedic specialists, please call us at 1-800-294-9999.
Orthopaedic Surgery Advances newsletter article: Innovative Arthroscopic Technique Preserves Chondrolabral Junction during Labral Repair and Acetabuloplasty
Gregory William Brick, MD, MBCHB, Orthopaedic Surgeon in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, discusses the anterior surgical approach to hip replacement.