Hip replacement or Arthroplasty is the process of removing the damaged joint and replacing it with a prosthetic or artificial implant. This procedure can be either inpatient or outpatient depending on the case and is done to allow pain-free movement of the joint and to return strength and stability to the hip. Dr. Alani has developed innovative techniques for outpatient minimally invasive hip replacements.
The primary symptom of severe hip arthritis is dull aching pain that can follow you while resting or during activity. The pain has been known to restrict movement and daily activity and can be found in the hips, thigh, groin, buttock, and sometimes knee. Hip arthritis can become debilitating as the pain increases, moving or lifting the leg can be unbearable, restricting even the simplest movements.
To diagnose arthritis, Dr. Alani will perform a physical examination where you will be asked about your medical history, symptoms, pain, and required to perform simple hip and leg movements. Dr. Alani may order laboratory tests and blood tests to determine the type of arthritis you have. He may also need to get an X-ray and MRI of the hip joint to map out the problem areas such as bone spurs, bone cysts, and areas of arthritis.
If the arthritis progresses to the point where medications, physical therapy, and rest fail to relieve symptoms, Hip Arthroplasty is the next step. This will remove the damaged portions of the joint and replace them with artificial prosthetics that will alleviate the pain and return mobility.
A small incision on the side of your hip is made to access the damaged joint. This technique is minimally invasive and saves healthy muscle tissue to reduce recovery time.
Your hip joint will be replaced with an artificial joint. Alani will choose the most appropriate artificial joint for you. A highly polished strong metal ball will be implanted or attached to the top of your femur. A durable socket made of plastic or plastic and metal will be attached to your bone with or without surgical screws or surgical cement. The artificial joint will allow you to perform most of the pain-free movements that you used to be able to do.
Before surgery you may need to donate a cache of blood for a blood transfusion during the surgical process. You will be under anesthesia for the procedure either general anesthesia (you are asleep) or spinal anesthesia (you are numb and groggy but awake). Dr. Alani will discuss these types of anesthesia with you before the procedure and decide which is best for your case.
During recovery, you will need to restrict a variety of movements including crossing your legs, bending the hips more than a 90-degree angle, pointing your feet inward or outward, and certain sleep positions. You will have a V-shaped pillow placed between your legs to position the hip joint while it heals and you may have to sleep with this pillow for up to six weeks.
Your physical therapy and occupational therapy will start the day of your surgery. Your therapists will show you how to strengthen your hip with exercises, safe ways to traverse stairs, and walking during healing. Your occupational therapist will show you how to return to normalcy by teaching you methods to accomplish everyday activities like bathing, dressing, cleaning, and general living processes while you are healing. You may need to install a shower seat and raised toilet seats to make these activities save while your hip isn’t 100%.
You will be able to resume normal activity shortly after surgery with focused attention to your rehabilitation routine. Expect total healing to take anywhere from three to four month with a dramatic reduction in hip pain and the ability to resume functional activities.