According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there are more than 285,000 hip replacement surgeries performed in the United States each year, up more than 25 percent in just five years. Total hip replacements are on the rise.
Though it has become a common procedure that is done every day in many places, a hip replacement surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s still a big surgery that comes with the risks and possible complications as do all surgeries. To increase your chances of having a successful surgery, consider these five things.
1. Choose an experienced surgeon who has performed many hip replacements
Experience is the key, but how much? You want to find a surgeon that is performing hip replacements regularly and is up-to-date with the latest techniques and materials. How do you find such a surgeon? Ask your primary care physician. They can point you in the right direction.
2. Don’t really worry about which technique your surgeon uses
Total hip replacement surgery replaces the bones that form the ball and socket of the hip with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. The most common techniques involve an incision either close to the buttock (posterior approach), an incision in the thigh (anterior approach) or a combination of both. Additionally, there are some other minimally invasive techniques. Exactly which technique is best for you is something that you should discuss with your surgeon.
A surgeon may choose one technique over another for a variety of reasons including medical factors, the training of the surgeon and their surgical experience. The main thing to remember is that the skills of the surgeon are more important than placement of the scalpel since most of differences in procedures are more theoretical than practical.
3. Do ‘Pre-Hab’
Pre-hab is a prescribed routine of exercises done before surgery to strengthen the muscles in your hips and legs. Additionally, working with a physical therapist prior to surgery allows them to better understand your functional ability before surgery allowing them to better help you recuperate after surgery.
4. Lose weight, but only if you are heavy and overweight
A hip prosthesis is designed to handle normal body weights so you should strive for a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or less, if possible. When a BMI is the 30s, many surgeons will require that you lose the extra weight as a condition for the replacement.
5. Commit to physical therapy
Typically a patient will spend two to three days in the hospital following a total hip replacement. This is normally followed by two to three weeks in a sub-acute rehabilitation center and then two to three months of outpatient care.
Commitment to physical therapy is most important in the outpatient phase. Patients who religiously follow the prescribed exercise regimen, which typically consists of 15- to 20-minute sessions, three times a day, may only need to see their physical therapist two to three times a week. Those that do little or nothing at home will likely need to see their physical therapist every day.
A true commitment to physical therapy, both at home and with the therapist, usually translates into a quicker and more successful recovery.
Staff @ MexicaliMedicalGuide
April 9, 2013