It may be beneficial for the patient and the caregiver to learn more about the surgery itself to gain more confidence. The orthopedic surgeon can provide detailed information on the surgical steps involved, often through the use of tools such as videos and animations.
Hip replacement surgery involves replacing a worn out hip joint with an artificial hip implant. The surgeon removes components of the joint in order to repair the damaged “bearing surface” (the area where the thigh bone or ball joint meets the socket or acetabulum), which is causing pain for the patient.
Types of Hip Replacement
There are several surgical techniques for performing hip replacement. Some of these are mentioned below:
Traditional Hip Replacement
The orthopedic surgeon may first make a 10 to 12 inch incision on the side of the hip. This enables him to detach the muscles from the hip in order to dislocate the hip for the surgery. The surgeon can then visualize the hip joint’s surfaces.
He first removes the ball portion of the ball and socket joint, which is the top of the femur or thighbone. This is necessary as the cartilage that lubricates the top of the ball (enabling the ball to slide easily against the socket) has worn off making any movement painful. A smooth plastic bearing is placed inside so that the joint can move freely.
The surgeon then inserts the “stem” of the implant deep into the femur to ensure that the implant doesn’t get dislodged. The stem can be implanted using cement or another material, which enables the bone to grow and eventually hold it in place. Finally, the surgeon places a metallic ball on top of the stem.
Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery
Surgeons sometimes opt for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery for their patient. Patients who are younger, healthier and thinner are typically good candidates for this type of surgery especially because they require a quick recovery in order to go back to work. There are different operative techniques that the surgeon can opt for while carrying out a minimally invasive surgery and this will largely depend on the surgeon’s background, experience and preference:
Anterior is defined as the “front”. Hence, in the anterior hip replacement surgery, the surgeon uses a minimal incision in the front of the hip. He cuts the bony portion of the joint (the part which touches the mattress when we lie down sideways). He then cuts a layer of thick muscle to reach the muscle layer underneath. At this point, he can just set aside the muscle layer instead of cutting through them, causing less damage to the soft hip tissues.
Posterior means “back”. The surgeon makes a minimally invasive incision that moves back into the buttock region. Then he splits the muscles of the buttock to reach the hip. The leg is then twisted to take out the femoral head and the ball is cut out.
The two incision technique’s key advantage is that it enables muscle conservation as the surgeon doesn’t need to dissect the muscles. The technique involves the surgeon making two incisions: one to put in the acetabular cup and one to put in the femoral component of the implant.