Every year around 100,000 people undergo hip replacement surgery in the UK. The procedure is generally very successful and modern hip replacements are increasingly durable, with 90% of new hips expected to be functioning beyond 10 years and 80% for 20 years.
We asked Mr Nicholas De Roeck, Consultant Orthopaedic Lower Limb Surgeon at One Hatfield Hospital, to tell us more.
What is a hip replacement?
A hip replacement is a widely undertaken surgical procedure to treat painful conditions of the hip by replacing the damaged joint with an artificial ball and socket.
When would I need a hip replacement?
Hip problems generally cause pain in the groin, buttock, thigh or knee. The most common condition leading to hip replacement surgery is osteoarthritis or wear and tear of the joint lining cartilage. As arthritis progresses, as well as deteriorating pain, it can lead to limping and reduced ability to walk. The surgery is usually performed when the pain has become severe, has stopped responding to pain-killers and is limiting day to day activities or disturbing sleep.
Osteoarthritis increases as we age and so the average age for undergoing hip replacement is 66. However, the success of the procedure means demand is increasing, particularly in the under 60s age group.
What does it involve?
There is some preparation ahead of admission to get a patient ready for the surgery. Patients are admitted on the day of the operation. An anaesthetic is performed either by making a patient’s legs numb with a spinal injection or by a general anaesthetic. The surgery is then performed through an incision at the top of the thigh.
In simple terms the procedure involves removing the ball (femoral head) and worn out lining of the socket (acetabulum). These are then replaced by implanting a prosthetic stem and socket. An artificial ball is placed on the stem and this articulates into the new socket to create the new hip joint.
What about afterwards?
Modern anaesthetic and surgical techniques are used to minimise the operating time and trauma of the surgery and so reduce pain and nausea. This allows patients to return to normal as quickly as possible.
Physiotherapists will help with mobilisation after surgery and advise further exercises to be undertaken after discharge. Patients are usually walking independently and able to go home within 2 to 3 days. Patients will usually be able to walk unaided between 4 and 6 weeks and return to driving in a similar timescale.
If you have any concerns Mr Nicholas De Roeck is available at One Hatfield Hospital either by booking directly through our Reservations Team on 01707 44 33 33 or by referral from your GP
One Hatfield is unique providing diagnostic care and same or next day appointments, and is ideally located for patients in Hatfield, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, North London and throughout Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.