If you experience chronic hip pain because of joint damage caused by osteoarthritis and have difficulty walking or exercising because of joint stiffness, doctors may recommend surgery to remove the diseased joint and replace it with durable prosthetic parts. Total hip replacement eliminates osteoarthritis in the hip and may dramatically improve your quality of life by alleviating pain and restoring stability and range of motion.
A surgeon performs total hip replacement using spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia. He or she makes an incision along the front, side, or back of the hip to access the hip joint.
The surgeon removes the arthritic joint as well as loose pieces of cartilage or other tissue. He or she then puts the prosthetic parts in place and closes the incision with stitches. Pain medication is injected into the surrounding tissues of the hip to help control pain after the procedure.
What to Expect After Surgery
As soon as you are capable, NYU Langone physical therapists help you to stand and walk. Getting out of bed and standing or taking a few steps helps you to retain strength in your muscles and joints, increases blood flow to the hip and leg, and may help speed your overall recovery.
Physical therapists monitor healing and continue to help you learn to walk using your new hip. Pain management specialists work with you to ensure you are comfortable while your body heals.
You can go home as soon as you can walk independently. That may be on the same day as surgery or one to three days later, depending on how quickly you recover.
After you can walk unassisted and without pain, NYU Langone physical therapists can help you to rebuild muscle and increase flexibility and range of motion in the hip. Our rehabilitation doctors and physical therapists customize an exercise routine that you can do at home to continue to condition and strengthen your muscles. Physical therapy should continue for 6 to 12 weeks, at which time NYU Langone doctors assess your progress before determining if additional physical therapy is needed.
Most people return to the hospital for a follow-up examination two to four weeks later. Crutches, a cane, or a walker are usually required for two to four weeks.
Today’s new joint implants are made with more durable material than in the past. The majority of people with a prosthetic hip have no complications for 20 years or more. This longevity means that total hip replacement is now an option for young, active people, for whom this surgery may be the best option for eliminating chronic hip joint pain.
After 20 years, a small number of joint implants begin to wear out and may need to be replaced. Our doctors recommend annual or biannual appointments after surgery, so that our specialists can ensure your hip implant continues to work well.