Hip Replacement Surgery

Advanced Surgical Techniques for Hip Replacement

In a hip replacement surgery, the hip joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic. At Loyola Medicine, a hip replacement surgery is used when conservative treatments like physical therapy or pain medication aren’t helping. 

Hip replacement surgery frequently gives patients relief from hip pain and greater mobility, being able to walk without the need for a cane, walker or wheelchair. Hip replacement is commonly used to treat: 

  • Adult hip dysplasia
  • Hip injury or fall
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Patients at Loyola benefit from the vast experience of fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons, many of whom have specialized training in treating hip problems. Loyola’s orthopaedic surgery team has the expertise to provide complete care for your hip condition or injury through advanced surgical procedures, including:

  • Hip resurfacing
  • Hip revision surgery
  • Partial hip replacement
  • Total hip replacement (joint arthroplasty)

What Treatment Options are Available for Hip Replacement Surgery?

Loyola’s orthopaedic hip specialists perform several kinds of hip procedures, including:

  • Hip resurfacing — Involves replacing the socket with an artificial cup and resurfacing the femoral head instead of removing it. This is often done in a younger patient as a way to delay a total hip replacement.
     
  • Hip revision surgery — Performed to fix an artificial hip joint that has been damaged from normal wear and tear or from an infection. While an artificial hip typically lasts 10 to 15 years, over time the hip doesn’t fit as securely and becomes less effective. Revision surgery offers relief from pain for patients who have an artificial hip.
     
  • Partial hip replacement — In this procedure, your surgeon will only replace the femoral head. After your surgery, a new artificial femoral head will rotate inside the hip socket. In more rare cases, the hip socket is replaced and the femoral head is left intact.
     
  • Total hip replacement (joint arthroplasty) — Your doctor removes the damaged parts of your hip joint and replaces them with artificial parts. This includes the femoral head, the ball at the top of your femur (thigh bone) and the cup-shaped hip socket. An artificial joint is connected to the thigh bone with a bonding cement, or with a porous material that allows your bone to regrow over the artificial part and attach to it. The socket is replaced with a sturdy moldable plastic. 

Sometimes a hip replacement is performed as a minimally invasive surgery that uses smaller incisions. With this kind of procedure, you will experience less blood loss and a shorter recovery time.

What to Expect During Hip Replacement Surgery

Patients who plan to undergo joint replacement are encouraged to participate in a class led by orthopaedic nurses, physical therapists and social workers. These classes are held at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, which offers easy access for you and your family. The classes help you:

  • Determine discharge planning needs such as outpatient physical therapy
  • Identify any special equipment needed at home after surgery
  • Set expectations for recovery
  • Understand the complexities of your surgery

During any kind of hip replacement surgery, you will be under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a cut along the side of the hip and move the muscles to expose the hip joint. The diseased portions of the thigh and hip socket are cut away and replaced with artificial parts. The length of your surgery will depend on a number of factors, including your condition and the type of surgery you are having. After surgery, you will spend four to six days recovering in the hospital and will receive daily physical therapy to regain mobility. 

After hip replacement surgery, you can expect an extended period of limited mobility while your surgical wounds heal. Changes around the home will be helpful, including storing extra non-perishable and frozen foods and making sure that supplies are kept between waist and shoulder level. Extra equipment around the house will help as well, including elevated toilet seats, shower seats, handrails and grab bars. Your total rehabilitation after surgery will take at least six months and is benefitted by your regular activity and movement.  Learn more about orthopaedic rehabilitation.

What are the Risks of Hip Replacement Surgery?

One of the possible risks of hip replacement surgery is dislocation of the artificial hip. While the soft tissues injured during surgery are healing, it is possible for the femoral ball to come out of the socket.

Other complications include fractures, osteolysis (loss of bone), metal sensitivity and metal toxicity. With any surgery, there is risk of infection, vein thrombosis and blood clots. Loyola’s orthopaedic surgeons are highly skilled and recognized for superior patient outcomes, and will work to prevent any surgical complications.