Total Hip Replacement Risks and Complications

What is Total Hip Replacement?

 

Surgically removing the damaged sections of the hip joint and replacing them with parts usually designed of metal, ceramic and very hard plastic is known as Total Hip Replacement.

The artificial joint helps reduce pain and improve function, enabling the person to resume normal physical activity.

Total hip arthroplasty or hip replacement surgery is a very good option for those whose hip pain is interfering with daily activities and nonsurgical treatments have failed or are no longer effective. Arthritis damage is one of the most common reasons to need a hip replacement.

 

Why is Total Hip Replacement Done?

 

Hip replacement surgery sometimes becomes a necessity, because of the conditions that can damage the hip joint. They include:

 

  • Osteoarthritis damages the slick cartilage that covers the ends of bones and helps joints move smoothly.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammation that leads to erosion of cartilage and sometimes the bone leading to damaged and deformed joints.
  • Osteonecrosis happens If there is not enough blood supplied to the ball portion of the hip joint, due to a dislocation or fracture leading to deformity of the bone.

 

Hip Replacement is Considered if One Has Hip Pain That:

  • Does not get well despite pain medication.
  • Worsens when one walks.
  • Interferes with sleep.
  • Makes dressing up difficult.
  • Affects the ability to go up or downstairs.
  • Makes rising from a seated position difficult.

What Is the Procedure for Total Hip Replacement?

 

During the surgical procedure which takes a few hours, the surgeon makes an incision over the front or side of the hip, through the layers of tissues to remove the damaged bone and cartilage, taking care to leave the healthy bone intact.

The prosthetic socket is implanted into the pelvic bone, replacing the damaged socket and replacing the round ball on the top of the femur with the prosthetic ball, attached to a stem that fits into the thigh bone.

 

What Are The Risks and Complications of Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

 

The techniques for hip replacement are constantly evolving as the development of less invasive surgical techniques continue to reduce recovery time and pain.

However, like any major surgery, hip replacement surgery also carries some risks, which may include:

 

        1. Blood Clots: Blood clots are one of the most common complications of Hip Replacement Surgery. The clots can develop in the veins causing swelling and tenderness. A piece of a clot can sometimes break off and travel to the lung, heart or quite rarely to the brain. 

Blood-thinning medications are prescribed by doctors to reduce this risk. Adequate physical therapy according to Doctor’s guidelines also helps to decrease the risk of blood clots. 

 

      2. Hip Dislocation: The hip joint may dislocate, causing the prosthetic ball to come out of its socket. However, returning to its proper place can be done without surgery, but under anaesthesia.

Dislocation is more common in females and older patients who have had previous hip surgery or the muscles surrounding the hip are weak. Patients with poor hip stability due to osteonecrosis, inflammatory arthritis or another pre-existing condition are also more prone to dislocation.

Dr Tanveer Bhutani at Eva Hospital says that avoiding certain movements and activities that increase the likelihood of dislocation should be avoided. The doctor can adequately guide the patient in this respect.

 

      3. Infection: The site of the incision can sometimes develop an infection in the deeper tissue near the new hip. Though infections can mostly be easily treated with antibiotics, a major infection near the prosthesis might sometimes require surgery to remove and replace the prosthesis, though rarely so.

 

      4. Different Leg Lengths after Surgery: The orthopaedic surgeons take every measure to avoid this issue and plan and operate in an extremely diligent manner to ensure that the affected leg is the correct length. However, sometimes the new hip may make the leg slightly shorter or longer to optimize pain relief, joint stability, and joint mobility. Caused by a contracture of muscles around the hip, progressive strengthening and stretching of those muscles might help and small differences in leg length are usually not noticeable after a few months and can be easily remedied with special shoe inserts.

 

     5. Loosening of the Prosthetic: The new ball and socket is meant to fit snugly and securely with the existing natural bone. The bones solidify over the surfaces of the porous metal implants, over time. In rare cases where this does not occur over a longer time period, one or both prostheses may loosen their bond to the bone. Though this complication is rare with newer implants and happens over a long period of time, surgery might be needed to fix the problem.

 

    6. Femur Fracture: The healthy portions of the hip like the thigh bone, or femur, might fracture during the surgery, while the surgeon dislocates the hip’s ball and socket, or when he fits the prosthetic stem inside the femur. Usually, the fractures are small enough to heal on their own, but larger fractures sometimes need to be stabilized with wires, screws, and possibly a metal plate or bone grafts.

     7. Nerve damage: In a rare complication, the nerves in the area where the implant is placed can be injured, causing numbness, weakness and pain.

ReadMore:-Partial Hip Replacement Surgery

 

Doctor’s Word

 

Dr Tanveer Bhutani, one of the top orthopaedic surgeons in Ludhiana who has been doing Total Hip Replacement Surgeries says that a patient’s age, weight and health are great determining factors in the risk of complications, diabetes being one of the biggest risk factors. 

A competent surgeon will always make sure to optimally monitor and manage a patient’s health and control all risk factors before going in for surgery.

Moreover, not all of the complications have long-term repercussions. Discussing the unique individual risks for potential complications with the doctor can help the patient to have better clarity. 

Dr Tanveer Bhutani assures that serious complications are usually rare and people experience pain-free and much-improved hip mobility after the recovery.

For a better understanding of complications related to the surgery book an appointment with Dr Tanveer  Bhutani at 9244900001