Hip replacement, otherwise known as hip arthroplasty, is an orthopedic surgical procedure where in the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant.
The earliest recorded efforts to carry out a hip replacement were made in Germany by Gluck T, in the year 1891. During the 20th century more and more attempts were recorded.
Hip replacement surgery is usually carried out as a part of the treatment to relieve excruciating pain caused by arthritis or, to repair high degree damage to the hip joint in a patient with hip fracture. This procedure is usually the last step to counter a condition that does not respond to medications, physical therapy or exercises.
The hip works like a ball and socket joint and has the rounded head of the femoral bone and the hip bones hollow socket called the acetabulum. When both head and the hollow socket are replaced it is called 'Total Hip Replacement.' In fracture of the neck of the femur only the head and neck of the bone is often replaced by prosthesis and this is termed as Hemi-arthroplasty of the hip.
The goals of this surgery include:-
• improving hip joint function,
• bettering mobility, and
• relieving pain.
The procedure involves the surgeon removing severely damaged cartilage and bones from the hip joint and replacing it with artificial man -made parts (prostheses).
Hip replacement surgery is one of the most effective and successful orthopedic procedures performed. However, as more and younger people need hip replacements, the artificial parts are required to last longer and this often does not happen – as the artificial components wear away and a revision surgery becomes a necessity. The second surgery is more complicated than the first and does not boast of a good prognosis.
The change brought about by the procedure can make a remarkable difference to the patient’s quality of life. But even this life-altering procedure is not without its share of complications, the most common one being hip dislocation which occurs due to the variation in the size of the prosthetics as opposed to the patient’s joint. Wear and tear, blood clots and infections are also not uncommon.
A patient who has undergone a hip replacement surgery is required to avoid certain activities like jogging and intense sporting or other activities.
In the USA, this surgery would, on an average, cost US $41,000 – 56,000. In an internationally accredited hospital in India, the same surgery could be done at US $7000- 9000.
In the previous year's hip replacement surgery was primarily meant for those who were 60 years and above because it was considered unlikely that the seniors would have an active life, making the hip safe from damage. But in the recent years this theory has undergone a change and hip replacement surgeries seem to be working well for the young as well, thanks to amazing technological advancements that have made sturdy and enduring prostheses possible.
There are certain categories of people who are not ideal candidates for a hip transplant. They include those with chronic illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, those who are more prone to infections and those who overall suffer poor health.
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