Know Your Hip Replacement Options

When you go to the doctor for your chronic hip pain and discover that you are in need of a hip replacement, you may wonder if you have any options available to you. After all, hip surgeries have a common reputation of being painful and difficult to recover from. However, this reputation is largely inaccurate, especially considering the various hip replacement options available to you. So, before you panic or worry about your upcoming surgery, get to know your various hip replacement surgery options. Once you have all the facts, you can discuss your options with your doctor and choose the surgical option that is best for you. 

Traditional (Posterior) Total Hip Replacement Surgery

The standard hip replacement procedure that has been in practice for many years involves the replacement of the so-called ball and socket of the hip. The "ball" is actually the top of the femur (or thigh bone) where the bone meets with the pelvis. The "socket" on the other hand, is the indentation in the pelvic bone in which the head of the femur sits.

Total hip replacement first involves the removal of the top of the femur. It is replaced with a prosthetic ball made of metal, plastic or ceramic. The socket is then resurfaced to make it less smooth so that the new prosthetic will sit comfortably in the socket. Oftentimes, these new components are cemented together to ensure that the hip replacement remains in place and intact. However, this is not always the case. 

Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery

Traditional hip replacement surgery is considered to be a rather invasive procedure. The incision can be large and the procedure is performed with a posterior approach (through the back and buttock), involving an incision directly through the large muscles in the buttocks. Recovery can be long due to the need for the gluteal muscles to repair themselves.

However, there is a new approach that is quickly rising in popularity known as the anterior hip replacement surgery. Rather than making the incision in the gluteal muscles, the doctor makes a smaller incision in the front of the leg to perform the hip replacement. This allows the surgeon to avoid cutting directly through muscle tissue. Instead, they move and separate the leg muscle tissue to access the hip joint. 

Anterior hip replacement surgeries are known to have shorter recovery times, shorter hospital stays, and reduced post-operative pain. This method does require a doctor to have special equipment. So, if you are interested in this procedure, talk to your doctor to find out if they are equipped to perform it. You may need to be referred to another surgeon.

Knowing the different surgical approaches for your hip replacement surgery helps you to better understand what will happen when you undergo anesthesia for your procedure. Choosing the right surgical approach for you is the first big step on the road to recovery from your chronic hip pain and discomfort. So, now that you know your options, talk to your doctor, and get the ball rolling.