Patient info for Knee Surgery
Patient info for Hip Surgery

Why Ortho Development?

Ortho Development is passionate about making the best, clinically proven, high-performance orthopedic devices in the world. All of our implants are designed and manufactured with pride in the United States using the most advanced materials and technologies available, and with a strong commitment to quality. Ortho Development products are being used by hundreds of surgeons throughout the United States and Japan - at world-renowned orthopedic hospitals and teaching universities, as well as in a widespread number of regional and community hospitals. 

The employees of Ortho Development strive for excellence and work with integrity, respect, accountability and attention to results. We collaborate with skilled orthopedic surgeons to develop products that can help restore mobility, enable faster recovery and produce the best clinical outcomes. For over 20 years, Ortho Development has been dedicated to improving lives and is committed to providing the best customer experience in orthopedics. We think you will notice the Ortho Development difference.

Knee Joint Anatomy & Function

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The knee is a joint that connects the bones in the upper and lower leg and is comprised of cartilage, muscle, ligaments, and tendons. The knee is the largest joint in the body and it plays an essential role in movement related to normal daily activities. The knee joint also provides stability and strength to support the weight of the body.

There are three bones that form the knee joint: the lower end of the femur (thighbone), the upper end of the tibia (shinbone), and the patella (kneecap). The bones of the knee joint are stabilized and connected by, fibrous tissue called ligaments. These ligaments work with the muscles, bones, and tendons to allow the knee to bend and straighten. The ends of the femur and tibia along with the back of the patella are covered with a flexible tissue called articular cartilage which helps the bones of the knee joint glide smoothly across each other. The meniscus is a cartilage that acts as a cushion between the femur and tibia to help absorb the forces between the bones during daily normal activities. Finally, the knee joint is enclosed by a capsule that has a tough outer membrane and an inner synovial membrane which produces a lubricating synovial fluid to help reduce joint friction and wear.

Causes of Knee Pain

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Knee pain can be the result of injury, disease, or biomechanical problems. Since physical fitness and sports activities are integral to living a healthy lifestyle, injuries to the knee can occur quite frequently among all age groups. 

Injury

A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, muscles, or tendons that surround the knee joint as well as the bones and cartilage that form the joint itself. The knee is susceptible to twisting or stretching injuries that take the joint through a greater range of motion than the joint can tolerate. The most common knee injuries include fractures, dislocations, and sprains or tears of the cartilage, tissue, or ligaments of the knee joint. Knee pain can also be a result of wear and tear or overuse of the knee joint over time. The most typical signs of knee injury include pain, swelling, and instability during daily normal activities.

Disease

One of the most common causes of knee pain is arthritis. Knee arthritis is characterized by the cartilage of the knee joint progressively wearing away. As the cartilage of the knee joint slowly wears away, the bones become exposed and rub against each other resulting in pain, swelling, decreased mobility, and stiffness. There are several different types of arthritis that exist but the most common types that affect the knee joint include:

Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that affects the knee joint and is a chronic condition sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects approximately 27 million people in the United States.  Symptoms of osteoarthritis typically occur over the age of 45, in people who are genetically prone to the disease, or have suffered an injury to the knee joint or obesity (1).

Rheumatoid Arthritis: This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints in the body. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation that in turn causes damage to the body’s joints and organs. Some of the key symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include fatigue, pain, and swollen joints. About 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from RA with nearly three times as many women having the disease as men (2).

Biomechanical Problems

Certain structural abnormalities can affect the function of the knee joint and cause pain. Some of these underlying abnormalities that could be causing knee pain include incorrect hip and foot function, weak muscles in the hip, or imbalance between the muscles of the leg.

Understanding Knee Pain

A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to assess and determine the proper treatment for your knee pain. Typically, a physical examination will focus on the joint’s range of motion, ability to walk, pain levels, and joint swelling or tenderness. A radiological examination (X-ray) may be completed to determine if there is a loss of joint space in the affected knee. Blood, and other tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be required to complete the pain assessment.

Treatment

Nonsurgical options are often the first-line approach for treatment in the early stages of knee pain. There is a wide range of nonsurgical treatment options available to help alleviate knee pain, increase joint function and mobility, and reduce symptoms. The choice of treatment should be a mutual decision made between the healthcare provider and the patient.

Non-Surgical Options

Some of the nonsurgical treatment options that may be suggested by the healthcare provider include:

RestRehabilitation and rest is a common treatment option that can help relieve knee pain. The general care to follow includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation for the affected knee joint. The short-term rest and rehabilitation may help the inflammation to subside. In some cases, cold or heat therapy may also be included as part of treatment based upon the cause of the knee pain.  

Exercise and Diet: The stress of the weight-bearing knee joint may be reduced through the management of diet and exercise. Based upon the condition of the affected knee, a therapeutic exercise program may be recommended along with the incorporation of a balanced diet. Exercise may help to restore function to the knee joint, increase range of motion, and strengthen the muscles in the leg. Research has shown that a 5-10% reduction in body weight can dramatically reduce joint pain and also improve exercise tolerance (3)

Physical TherapyIn conjunction with a therapeutic exercise program, the healthcare provider may recommend visiting a physical therapist. An evaluation is conducted by a physical therapist that includes gathering information about the history of the knee pain, past medical problems, aggravating and relieving factors, and a physical examination. The physical examination may consist of a walking assessment and measurements to determine the joint’s range of motion, knee strength, and swelling.

A treatment program will be developed based upon the condition of the affected knee and often includes exercises that help strengthen and improve mobility within the joint. The overall goal of physical therapy is to help eliminate knee pain, gain optimal use of the knee joint, and learn skills to avoid future injuries or pain. In addition to exercises, a physical therapist may use other methods to reduce pain including alternating cold and heat therapy, use of ultrasound machines to increase blood flow and to stimulate muscles, or the use of a supportive walking aid such as a cane or brace (4) (5).

MedicationsA healthcare provider may recommend medications to help make knee pain more manageable. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications are typically the first line of treatment while prescription medications are usually reserved for more severe knee pain. Acetaminophen helps to alleviate mild to moderate pain and since acetaminophen does not contain anti-inflammatory ingredients another medication may be needed to reduce swelling. A Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) may be recommended to help address swelling or inflammation of the knee joint. NSAIDs are available OTC and include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium products. A healthcare provider may have the patient try several NSAIDs to determine which one works best to relieve pain. Topical analgesics or pain relievers may also be used to help make knee pain more manageable. Topical medications are available in the form of creams, patches, and lotions. Topical medications can help provide short-term relief to a specific area of the knee joint.

Injections: Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that are related to cortisone and are used to reduce inflammation. Cortisone can be injected directly into the knee joint. The effects and relief from cortisone injections are short-term and typically patients cannot receive more than four knee joint injections per year (6).

Surgical Options

Surgery may be recommended after all nonsurgical treatment options fail to provide relief from pain symptomsTwo of the many surgical options available include:

Arthroscopy: Arthroscopic knee surgery is a procedure that involves the use of fiber optic technology to view inside the knee joint. Arthroscopic surgery is often called “scoping the knee” and repairs or removes damaged structures within the knee joint. Some of the reasons to perform arthroscopy include the repair of torn cartilage or ligaments, reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), removal of loose cartilage, or meniscus repair (7)

Total Knee Replacement: Total knee replacement (or arthroplasty) is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures performed. In a total knee replacement surgery the damaged portions of the joint are removed and replaced with prosthetic components. The prosthetic components are typically made of medical-grade metal and plastic. Together, the components mimic the functionality of a healthy knee joint. The surgical techniques and instruments of knee replacements have been optimized over the years to provide long-lasting results and superior functionality. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States with over 90% of patients having good results from the surgery (8) (9).

Total Knee Replacement Procedure

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The decision to have total knee replacement surgery should be a mutual decision between the patient and the surgeon. The recommendation to move forward with surgery is based upon a patient’s pain and disability along with the influence it has on quality of life and daily activites. Most patients who undergo a total knee replacement are between the ages of 50-80. More than 90% of patients who have total knee replacement surgery experience a significant improvement in the ability to perform normal daily activities and experience a dramatic decrease in pain (10).

Expectations

The complication rate following a total knee replacement surgery is low, with serious complications such as infection, occurring in fewer than 2% of patients. Some of the complications that may occur following surgery include: infection, blood clots, knee stiffness and implant complications.

Preparation

Prior to a total knee replacement surgery, a complete physical examination may need to be completed to ensure that the patient is healthy enough to have the surgery and complete the recovery and rehabilitation process. Patients who have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease may also be evaluated by a specialist prior to surgery. Other preparation items include:

Tests: Several tests may be needed to plan for surgery such as blood and urine samples and possibly an electrocardiogram (EKG). 

Medications: It is important for the patient to notify the surgeon about current medications as some medications shouldn't be taken prior to surgery. 

Dental Procedures: The incidence of infection is very low after knee replacement surgery but an infection can occur if bacteria enters the bloodstream. Major dental procedures, such as periodontal work, should be completed prior to surgery to reduce the risk of infection. 

Post-Surgery AssistanceTo help make the recovery easier the patient should consider who will assist them with normal daily tasks at home whether it is family, friends, or a social worker. If a patient does not have someone available to assist post-surgery then an inpatient rehabilitation center may be an option. Since the typical recovery time is around six weeks, the patient should also consider making modifications to their environment by incorporating adaptive equipment, such as secure handrails along stairways, to make the recovery easier. 

Procedure

The day of the knee replacement surgery, the patient will be admitted to the hospital and will be evaluated by a member of the anesthesia team. There are different types of anesthesia that may be used during surgery including general, spinal, epidural, or regional nerve block. The anesthesia team will determine which type of anesthesia is best for the patient.

A total knee replacement surgery typically takes between 1-2 hours. During the surgery the affected bone or cartilage on the end of the femur (thigh bone) and the top of the tibia (shin bone) are removed. A metal and plastic prosthesis is positioned to function as the new knee joint. Depending upon the condition of the patella (kneecap), the patellar surface may also be replaced.

Once the surgery is complete, the patient may be moved to the recovery room and will remain there for several hours. While in the recovery room the patient’s anesthesia is monitored. The patient may stay in the hospital post-surgery to manage pain, actively prevent blood clots, and begin physical therapy. Most patients will begin exercising their knee the day after surgery. 

Post-Operative

It is important to restore normal knee motion and strength after a total knee replacement. The recovery and rehabilitation process plays a crucial role in helping the patient resume an active, pain-free lifestyle. Within the first 24 hours after surgery, a physical therapist will monitor the strength and flexibility in the knee and will also provide a therapy program to be completed in the hospital and at home. Commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation goals during this process can greatly improve long-term success.

A gradual return to everyday activities along with exercise may help restore normal knee motion post surgery. During the early stages of rehabilitation it may be recommended to exercise 2-3 times a day. It is important for the patient to be committed to the recovery and rehabilitation goals as the patient’s commitment during this process can greatly improve the chances of long-term success. The rehabilitation timeline below outlines anticipated goals after surgery. Consult with the surgeon about which activities to avoid.

1-2 Weeks:

The first two weeks after surgery are critical in the rehabilitation process and include a strong emphasis on motion, activity, and swelling control.

  • Range of motion 0-100 degrees
  • Safe walking with an assistive device such as a cane or crutches
  • Independent transfer of weight from one leg to the other
  • Control swelling with R.I.C.E.
    Rest: Stop and rest if there is excessive pain
    Ice: Use and ice pack on the front and back of the knee
    Compression: Wear a compression stocking to decrease swelling
    Elevation: Elevate the knee on pillows above the level of the heart 

3-6 Weeks:

  • Safe walking with use of a cane
  • Increase knee strength by continuing physical therapy and exercise
  • Range of motion 0–120 degrees
  • Decreased inflammation and swelling

2-4 Months:

  • Safe walkingnon uneven surfaces with use of a cane
  • Safe walking on a level surface without an assistive device
  • Ability to ascend and descend stairs independently
  • Return to normal daily activities
  • Decreased pain and stiffness

6-12 Months

  • Stay active with exercise and low-impact activities
  • Continue to improve muscular strength and endurance
  • No pain or swelling with joint movement
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Complete follow-up appointments to track progress

FAQ’s

How do I know if I need a total knee replacement?

If you have tried nonsurgical treatments and are still experiencing knee pain or if your pain is preventing you from performing daily normal activities, discuss total knee replacement surgery with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can assess your current diagnosis and determine if a total hip knee replacement is a good option for you and your lifestyle.

How old is the average patient that has a total knee replacement?

Most patients who undergo total knee replacement surgery are between the ages of 50-80 with the average patient being age 68. With the recent improvements in the design of knee implants and the implant material, more active and younger patients are receiving a total knee replacement and achieving long-lasting results with superior functionality (11)

How will I benefit from a total knee replacement?

After surgery and rehabilitation, the benefits of a total knee replacement may include:

  • Reduction in joint pain and stiffness
  • Improved range of motion
  • Increased knee stability 

How long will my knee replacement last?

Most knee implants last an average of 20 years. The implant may loosen or experience wear based upon the lifestyle of the patient and the demands on the implanted joint.

Will my knee replacement set off metal detectors?

It is unlikely, but possible, that your knee replacement will set off a metal detector. To take precaution, alert the appropriate security staff that you have a knee replacement.

Do I need to take precautions to protect my knee replacement?

To protect and extend the life of your knee replacement you may want to:

  • Participate in light exercise to maintain strength and mobility
  • Avoid falls and injuries
  • Do not complete dental work in the first three months after surgery 
  • Alert all doctors, including your dentist, that you have a total knee replacement
  • Complete routine follow-up examinations with your healthcare provider

Can I have an MRI after my knee replacement surgery?

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a diagnostic tool that can be used for many types of medical conditions, including orthopedic problems. After you have completed your knee replacement surgery you will not be able to have a clear MRI of your knee implant. If an MRI is needed, you can have an MRI completed on other parts of your body but you will want to be sure to alert the MRI personnel about your knee implant.

What type of exercises/activities should I avoid after my knee replacement?

It is best to avoid any exercise that will cause impact to your joint replacement. Consult your surgeon to determine which activities you should avoid, and if you can introduce new exercises or activities during your rehabilitation period.


How can I find a local surgeon that performs total knee replacement surgery?

Please click here to find a surgeon near you that uses Ortho Development knee products.

Disclaimer

The information presented in on this website is for educational purposes only. The information does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or healthcare professional. Ortho Development assumes no liability related to your decision to pursue joint replacement surgery based upon any information provided here. Ortho Development strives to provide information that is accurate, timely, and complete however, Ortho Development does not make any guarantee in this regard. Always consult your doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice, diagnosis, or decisions. Each patient will experience a different post-operative activity level based upon his or her individual circumstances. Your doctor will counsel you about how to best maintain your activity level to help prolong the lifetime of the device. The lifetime of a joint replacement device is not infinite and varies based upon each individual. 

Sources 

1)     “Osteoarthritis.” Arthritis.org. Web. 30 July 2014.
2)     “Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Arthritis.org. Web. 30 July 2014.
3)     Cluett, Jonathan, M.D. “Does Weight Loss Help Symptoms of Arthritis and Joint Pain?”. About.com, 30 June 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
4)     Sears, Brett. “Physical Therapy for Knee Pain.” About.com, 16 May 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
5)     Yoffee, Lynn. “Physical Therapy for Knee Pain.” Everyday Health, 22 June 2009. Web. 30 July 2014.
6)     Gentile, Julie, M. “Knee Osteoarthritis Medications.” Practicalpainmanagement.com, 11 October 2011. Web. 30 July 2014.
7)     Cluett, Jonathan, M.D. “Arthroscopic Knee Surgery: A Treatment Option for Some Causes of Knee Pain.” About.com, 27 May 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
8)     “Total Knee Replacement.” AAOS.org, December 2011. Web. 30 July 2014.
9)     Cluett, Jonathan, M.D. “Considering Knee Replacement Surgery? What You Need to Know About Knee Replacement.” About.com, 23 June 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
10)   “Total Knee Replacement.” AAOS.org, December 2011. Web. 30 July 2014.
11)   Baldauf, Sarah. “Knee Replacements: Are You Too Young, Too Old, Too Fat, or Too Active?”. USNews.com, 12 March 2010. U.S. News & World Report. Web. 30 July 2014.

Why Ortho Development?

Ortho Development is passionate about making the best, clinically proven, high-performance orthopedic devices in the world. All of our implants are designed and manufactured with pride in the United States using the most advanced materials and technologies available, and with a strong commitment to quality. Ortho Development products are being used by hundreds of surgeons throughout the United States and Japan - at world-renowned orthopedic hospitals and teaching universities, as well as in a widespread number of regional and community hospitals. 

The employees of Ortho Development strive for excellence and work with integrity, respect, accountability and attention to results. We collaborate with skilled orthopedic surgeons to develop products that can help restore mobility, enable faster recovery and produce the best clinical outcomes. For over 20 years, Ortho Development has been dedicated to improving lives and is committed to providing the best customer experience in orthopedics. We think you will notice the Ortho Development difference.

Hip Joint Anatomy & Function

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The hip is a ball-and-socket joint and is one of the largest joints in the body. The hip joint is designed to support the weight of the body while withstanding repeated motion. Aside from the hip joint allowing a variety of leg movements, this joint also plays an integral role in retaining balance and providing a solid base to reinforce the body’s center of gravity.

The hip joint consists of two main parts: the acetabulum (the hip socket) and the femoral head located on the top of the femur (thighbone). The articulation between the acetabulum and the femoral head is what enables the hip joint to move fluidly. This joint is connected by tough, fibrous tissue called ligaments. These ligaments work with the muscles, bones, and tendons to allow movement of the hip. The inside of the acetabulum and the femoral head are covered by a smooth cushion of articular cartilage which helps to prevent friction as the hip bone moves smoothly in its socket. The remaining surfaces within the hip joint are surrounded by a thin tissue called synovial membrane. The synovial membrane produces a small amount of synovial fluid that provides lubrication to the cartilage and helps eliminate friction during movement.

Causes of Hip Pain

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Despite the durability of the hip joint, there are several factors that can cause chronic hip pain and disability. The cartilage, muscles, tendons, or bones in the hip joint can experience wear or damage from an array of factors including injuries and disease.

Injury

Despite the durability of the hip joint, there are several factors that can cause chronic hip pain and disability. The cartilage, muscles, tendons, or bones in the hip joint can experience wear or damage from an array of factors including injuries and disease.

An injury to the hip can take place from playing sports, trauma, overuse of the joint, or from falling. The most common injuries of the hip include strains, bursitis, dislocation, and fractures.

Strain: As a result of repeated daily activities, strain can be placed on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hip joint. This strain causes inflammation in the hip joint and results in pain. Symptoms of a strain include muscle spasms, swelling, and pain during movement.

Bursitis: A bursa is a small, fluid filled sac that cushions and lubricates the muscles and tendons in the hip joint. When a bursa becomes inflamed, usually from the overuse of a joint or as a result from an injury, it causes pain in the hip and on the outside of the thigh. Symptoms of bursitis include swelling and joint pain.

Dislocation:  A dislocation occurs in the hip joint when the femoral head of the thighbone (femur) slips out of place from the hip socket (acetabulum). This type of injury is typically a result from an automobile accident or a severe fall. When dislocation takes place in the hip the ligaments within the joint are often damaged. Symptoms of a dislocation include an inability to move the leg and severe pain.

Fracture: A fracture is a break in a bone that is a result of falls, sports injuries, automobile accidents, or low bone density. A hip fracture can occur at any age but hip fractures are most common in people age 65 and older (1). Women with osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones, are more susceptible to hip fracture. 

Disease

One of the most common causes of hip pain is arthritis. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and causes the cartilage to wear down. As the cartilage of the hip joint slowly wears away, the bones become exposed and rub against each other resulting in pain, swelling, decreased mobility, and stiffness. There are several different types of arthritis that exist but the most common types that affect the hip joint include:

Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis and typically occurs in people who are 50 years of age or older. Common risk factors for osteoarthritis include age, previous injuries, overuse of the joint, obesity, or genetics. Currently, there are about 27 million people in America that suffer from osteoarthritis (2). Symptoms of osteoarthritis develop gradually over time and include joint pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: This form of arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints in the body. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation that can in turn cause damage to the body’s joints and organs. Some of the key symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include fatigue, pain, and swollen joints. About 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from RA with nearly three times as many women having the disease as men (3).  

Osteonecrosis: After an injury to the hip has occurred, such as a fracture or dislocation, the blood supply to the femoral head may be deprived. The lack of blood supply to the bones is called osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis. When there is a loss of blood to the bone, particularly the bones near a joint, it often causes a collapse in the joint surface. Symptoms of osteonecrosis include joint pain, limited range of motion, and in severe cases loss of joint function (4).

Understanding Hip Pain

A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to assess and determine the proper treatment for your hip pain. Typically, a physical examination will focus on the joint’s range of motion, ability to walk, pain levels, and joint swelling or tenderness. A radiological examination (X-ray) may be completed to determine if there is a loss of joint space in the affected hip. Blood, and other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be required to complete the pain assessment.

Treatment

Nonsurgical options are often the first-line approach for treatment in the early stages of hip pain. There is a wide range of nonsurgical treatment options available to help alleviate hip pain, increase function and mobility, and reduce symptoms. The choice of treatment should be a mutual decision made between the healthcare provider and the patient.

Non-Surgical Options

Some of the nonsurgical treatment options that may be suggested by the healthcare provider include:

Rest: Rehabilitation and rest of the hip joint is a common treatment option that can help relieve hip pain. General care includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation for the affected hip joint. The short-term rest and rehabilitation may help the inflammation to subside. In some cases, cold or heat therapy may also be included as part of the rest and rehabilitation treatment based upon the cause of the hip pain.  

Exercise and DietThe stress of the weight-bearing hip joint may be reduced through the management of diet and exercise. Based upon the condition of the affected hip, a therapeutic exercise program may be designed to include strength and flexibility as well as the incorporation of a balanced diet. Exercise may help restore function to the hip joint, increase range of motion, and strengthen the muscles in the hip and leg. Research has shown that a 5-10% reduction in body weight can dramatically reduce joint pain and also improve exercise tolerance (5)

Physical TherapyIn conjunction with a therapeutic exercise program, the healthcare provider may recommend visiting a physical therapist. An evaluation is conducted by a physical therapist that includes gathering information about the history of the hip pain, past medical problems, aggravating and relieving factors, and a physical examination. The physical examination may consist of a walking assessment and measurements to determine the joint’s range of motion, hip strength, and swelling.

A treatment program will be developed based upon the condition of the affected hip and often includes exercises that help strengthen and improve mobility within the joint. The overall goal of physical therapy is to help eliminate hip pain, gain optimal use of the hip joint, and learn skills to avoid future injuries or pain. In addition to exercises, a physical therapist may use other methods to reduce pain including alternating cold and heat therapy, use of ultrasound machines to increase blood flow and to stimulate muscles, or the use of a supportive walking aid such as a cane or brace.

Medications: A healthcare provider may recommend medications to help make hip pain more manageable. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications are typically the first line of treatment while prescription medications are usually reserved for more severe hip pain. Acetaminophen helps to alleviate mild to moderate pain and since acetaminophen does not contain anti-inflammatory ingredients another medication may be needed to reduce swelling. A Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory drug (NSAID) may be recommended to help address swelling or inflammation of the hip joint. NSAIDs are available OTC and include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium products. A healthcare provider may have the patient try several NSAIDs to determine which medication works best to relieve pain. Topical analgesics or pain relievers may also be used to help make hip pain more manageable. Topical medications are available in the form of creams, patches, and lotions. Topical medications can help provide short-term relief to a specific area of the hip joint. 

Injections:  Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that are related to cortisone and are used to reduce inflammation. Cortisone can be injected directly into the hip joint. The effects and relief from cortisone injections are short-term and can sometimes provide relief immediately after the injection is completed or within the first two to three days (6).

Joint Supplements:  For temporary pain relief patients may consider joint fluid supplements to be injected into the affected hip joint. Some of the types of supplements that can be injected include glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, steroid, and hyaluronic acid. Joint supplement injections can help to reduce swelling, provide lubrication to the hip joint, and alleviate hip pain. The results of these injections are temporary and typically last between six to 12 months (7).

Surgical Options

Surgery may be recommended after all nonsurgical treatment options fail to provide relief from pain symptoms. Two of the several surgical options available include:

Arthroscopy:  Arthroscopic hip surgery is a procedure that involves the use of fiber optic technology to view inside the hip joint. Arthroscopic surgery repairs or removes damaged structures within the hip joint. Some of the reasons to perform arthroscopy include the removal of bone and cartilage or to repair torn cartilage in the hip joint (8)

Total Hip ReplacementA total hip replacement (or arthroplasty) is one of the most common and successful surgical procedures performed. During a total hip replacement the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetic components. The prosthetic components are typically made of medical-grade metal, ceramic, and plastic. Together, the components mimic the functionality of a healthy hip joint. The surgical techniques and instruments of total hip replacements have been modified over the years to provide long-lasting results and superior functionality. 

Total Hip Replacement Procedure

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The decision to have total hip replacement surgery should be a mutual decision between the patient and the surgeon. The recommendation to move forward with surgery is based upon a patient’s pain and disability along with the influence it has on quality of life and daily activities. The majority of patients who have a total hip replacement are between the ages of 50 to 80. More than 90% of patients who have total hip replacement surgery experience a significant improvement in the ability to perform normal daily activities and also experience a dramatic decrease in pain (9) (10)

Expectations

The complication rate following a total hip replacement is low, with serious complications such as infection, occurring in fewer than 2% of patients (11). Some of the complications that may occur following surgery include: infection, blood clots, dislocation and implant complications.

Preparation

Prior to a total hip replacement surgery, a complete physical examination may need to be completed to ensure that the patient is healthy enough to have the surgery and complete the recovery and rehabilitation process. Patients who have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease may also be evaluated by a specialist prior to surgery. Other preparation items include:

Tests: Several tests may be needed to plan for surgery such as blood and urine samples and an electrocardiogram (EKG). 

Medications: It is important for the patient to notify the surgeon about current medications as some medications shouldn't be taken prior to surgery. 

Dental Procedures: The incidence of infection is very low after hip replacement surgery but an infection can occur if bacteria enters the bloodstream. Major dental procedures, such as periodontal work, should be completed prior to surgery to reduce the risk of infection. 

Post-Surgery Assistance: To help make the recovery easier the patient should consider who will assist them with normal daily tasks at home whether it is family, friends, or a social worker. If a patient does not have someone available to assist post-surgery then an inpatient rehabilitation center may be an option. Since the typical recovery time is around six weeks, the patient should also consider making modifications to their environment by incorporating adaptive equipment, such as secure handrails along stairways, to make the recovery easier. 

Procedure

The day of the total hip replacement surgery, the patient will be admitted to the hospital and will be evaluated by a member of the anesthesia team. There are different types of anesthesia that can be used during the surgery including general, spinal, epidural, or regional nerve block. The anesthesia team will determine which type of anesthesia is best for the patient.

A total hip replacement surgery typically takes 1-2 hours. During the surgery the damaged cartilage and bone will be removed and implants will be positioned to help restore alignment and function to the hip joint. The affected femoral head is removed and a metal femoral stem is inserted into the femur (thighbone), next a metal or ceramic femoral head is then attached to the upper part of the femoral stem. The affected cartilage surface of the acetabulum (hip socket) is replaced with a metal acetabular shell. Finally, a plastic liner is inserted into the acetabular shell to provide a smooth articulating surface.

Once the surgery is complete, the patient may be moved to the recovery room and will remain there for several hours. While in the recovery room the patient’s anesthesia is monitored. The patient may stay in the hospital post-surgery for a few days to manage pain, actively prevent blood clots, and begin physical therapy. Most patients will begin exercising their hip the day after surgery. 

Post-Operative

It is important to restore normal hip motion and strength after a total hip replacement. The recovery and rehabilitation process play a crucial role in helping the patient resume an active, pain-free lifestyle. Within the first 24 hours after surgery, a physical therapist will monitor the strength and flexibility in the hip and will also provide instructions and goals for the patient to complete in the hospital and at home.

A gradual return to everyday activities along with exercise can help restore normal hip motion post surgery. During the early stages of rehabilitation it may be recommended to exercise 2-3 times a day. It is important for the patient to be committed to the recovery and rehabilitation goals as the patient’s commitment during this process can greatly improve the chances of long-term success. The rehabilitation timeline below outlines anticipated goals after surgery. Consult with the surgeon about which activites to avoid.

1-2 Weeks:

The first two weeks after surgery are critical in the rehabilitation process and include a stron emphasis on motion, activity and swelling control.

  • Normal walking motion on level surfaces with assistive device such as a walker or crutches
  • Increase muscle strength of entire hip girdle
  • Completion of daily exercise program focusing on gait, endurance, and mobility
  • Rest if you feel excessive pain while exercising and ice as needed to help control swelling

3-6 Weeks:

  • Normal walking motion on level surfaces with assistive device such as a walker or crutches
  • Ability to balance for a short time on affected leg
  • Ascend and descend stairs with alternating feet and use of cane or handrail
  • Continue daily exercise program focusing on gait, endurance, and mobility

2-4 Months:

  • Normal walking motion on all surfaces without a limp, without the use of a walker or crutches
  • Ascend and descend stairs with alternating feet and no support
  • Ability to carry out functional movements with good control and without pain
  • No pain or swelling with joint movement 

6-12 Months:

  • Stay active with exercise and low-impact activities
  • Continue to improve muscular strength and endurance
  • No pain or swelling with joint movement
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Complete required follow-up appointments to track progress

FAQ’s

How do I know if I need a total hip replacement?

If you have tried nonsurgical treatments and are still experiencing hip pain or if your pain is preventing you from performing daily normal activities then you should discuss a total hip replacement with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can assess your current diagnosis and determine if a total hip replacement is a good option for you and your lifestyle.

How old is the average patient that has a total hip replacement?

Most patients who undergo total knee replacement surgery are between the ages of 50-80 with the average patient being over 65 years old (12).

How will I benefit from a total hip replacement?

After surgery and rehabilitation, the benefits of a total hip replacement may include:

  • Reduction in joint pain and stiffness
  • Greater range of motion
  • Increased hip stability 

How long will my hip replacement last?

Roughly 90-95% of patients who have a total hip replacement can expect to have their hip functioning normally at 10 years, and nearly 85% of patients can expect to have their hip functioning normally at 20 years. The implant can loosen or experience wear based upon the lifestyle of the patient and the demands on the implanted joint (13).

Will my hip replacement set off metal detectors?

It is unlikely, but possible, that your hip replacement will set off a metal detector. To take precaution, alert the appropriate security staff that you have a hip replacement.

Do I need to take precautions to protect my hip replacement?

To protect and extend the life of your hip replacement you may want to:

  • Participate in light exercise to maintain proper strength and mobility
  • Avoid falls and injuries
  • Do not complete dental work within the first three months after surgery 
  • Alert all doctors, including dentist, that you have a total hip replacement 
  • Complete routine follow-up examinations with your healthcare provider

Can I have an MRI after my hip replacement surgery?

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a diagnostic tool that can be used for many types of medical conditions, including orthopedic problems. After you have completed your hip replacement surgery you will not be able to have a clear MRI of your hip implant. If an MRI is needed, you can have an MRI completed on other parts of your body but you will want to be sure to alert the MRI personnel about your hip implant.

What type of excercises/activities should I avoid after my hip replacement?

It is best to avoid any exercise that will cause impact to your joint replacement. Consult your surgeon to determine which activities you should avoid, and if you can introduce new exercised or activities during your rehabilitation period.

How can I find a local surgeon that performs total knee replacement surgery?

Please click here to find a surgeon near you that uses Ortho Development knee products.

Disclaimer

The information presented in on this website is for educational purposes only. The information does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or healthcare professional. Ortho Development assumes no liability related to your decision to pursue joint replacement surgery based upon any information provided here. Ortho Development strives to provide information that is accurate, timely, and complete however Ortho Development does not make any guarantee in this regard. Always consult your doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice, diagnosis, or decisions. Each patient will experience a different post-operative activity level based upon his or her individual circumstance. Your doctor will counsel you about how to best maintain your activity level to help prolong the lifetime of the device. The lifetime of a joint replacement device is not infinite and varies based upon each individual. 

 

Sources:

1)     “Hip Injury, common and some not-so-common injuries of the hip joint.” Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 July 2014.
2)     “Osteoarthritis.” Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 July 2014.
3)     “Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 July 2014.
4)     “Osteonecrosis.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin DiseasesNational Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, n.d. NIH Publication No. 09-4857, January 2013. NIAMS. Web. 28 July 2014.
5)     Cluett, Jonathan, M.D. “Does Weight Loss Help Symptoms of Arthritis and Joint Pain?”. About.com, 30 June 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
6)     Baker, Ray, M., M.D. “Hip Joint Infections for Pain Relief.” Spine-Health, 23 August 2005. Web. 30 July 2014.
7)     Cole, Andrew, M.D. “Hip Osteoarthritis Treatment.” Arthritis-Health, 9 September 2011. Web. 30 July 2014.
8)     “Hip Arthroscopy.” Medline-Plus, 12 August 2013. A.D.A.M, Inc. Web. 30 July 2014.
9)     Cluett, Jonathan, M.D. “Considering Hip Replacement Surgery?”. About.com, 27 May 2014. Web. 30 July 2014.
10)   Total Hip Replacement.” AAOS.org, December 2011. Web. 30 July 2014.
11)   “Total Hip Replacement.” AAOS.org, December 2011. Web. 30 July 2014.
12)   Crawford, R.W. and Murray, D.W. “Total hip replacement: indications for surgery and risk factors for failure.” ard.bmj.com. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, The Eular Journal,Volume 56, Issue 8. 455-457. Web. 30 July 2014.
13)   Crawford, R.W. and Murray, D.W. “Total hip replacement: indications for surgery and risk factors for failure.” ard.bmj.com. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, The Eular Journal,Volume 56, Issue 8. 455-457. Web. 30 July 2014.