Hip replacement is one of the most important surgical advances of this century. This surgery helps more than 300,000 Americans each year to relieve their pain, and get back to enjoying normal, everyday activities. Hip replacement involves the removal of arthritic bone ends and damaged cartilage and replacing them with prosthetic implants that replicate the hip joint.
Hip replacement surgery may be considered when arthritis limits your everyday activities such as walking and bending, when pain continues while resting, or stiffness in your hip limits your ability to move or lift your leg.
Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. It is time to consider surgery if you have little pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs or other treatments, such as physical therapy, do not relieve hip pain.
Hip replacement can help relieve pain and get you back to enjoying normal, everyday activities.
Total hip replacement is often reserved for patients who:
- Have a painful, disabling joint disease of the hip resulting from a severe form of arthritis
- Are not likely to achieve satisfactory results from less invasive procedures, such as arthrodesis (artificial stiffening or fixation of the joint)
- Have bone stock that is of poor quality or inadequate for other reconstructive techniques
In a total hip replacement operation, the Dr. Henry Backe surgeon replaces the worn surfaces of the hip joint with an artificial hip joint. The worn head of the femur (thigh bone) is replaced with a metal or ceramic ball mounted on a stem; the stem is placed firmly into the canal of the thigh bone at its upper end. The acetabulum (hip socket) is prepared and implanted with a metal cup and plastic or ceramic insert. The ball and insert glide together to replicate the hip joint.
Depending on the patient anatomy and clinical indications, Dr. Backe may perform the Posterior Approach or Anterior Approach to Total Hip Replacement.
If Dr. Backe indicates the direct anterior approach is appropriate, please see additional information below:
Direct Anterior approach for hip replacement
If you’ve been told you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery, you may benefit from a minimally invasive surgical technique called Direct Anterior hip replacement surgery. Put simply, this technique changes the direction from which a surgeon can access your hip joint.
With the Direct Anterior approach, your specially trained orthopedic surgeon is able to repair your painful hip through a natural space between the muscles of the anterior (front) portion of the hip, rather than making the incision on the posterior (back) side, which has the potential of damaging the muscles that make up the primary support system for the joint. These are the muscles you spend weeks and months rehabilitating after surgery.
During this procedure the hip joint is exposed between the anterior muscles, without the need to cut tissue or detach tendons. Once access is gained, the portion of the upper thigh bone (the femoral head and neck) and the hip socket (acetabulum) are prepared for the insertion of the hip replacement implant, just as in a traditional procedure.
The hip replacement is comprised of metal and plastic components that replace the ball-and-socket elements of the hip joint. They are secured within the femur (thighbone) and acetabulum (hip socket) either with bone cement or by “press-fit,” meaning the implants are shaped to achieve stability without bone cement. Through the use of X-rays, physicians can ensure the implants have the proper fit and alignment to ensure comfort and a natural range-of-motion after surgery.
Advantages to utilizing the Direct Anterior approach
This minimally invasive technique allows for preservation of the soft tissue surrounding the joint, allowing for immediate stability following surgery, as well as a possible lower risk of dislocation, as the primary support muscles are left intact.
Patients may have a shorter hospital stay, as there are typically fewer post-operative restrictions and the possibility of a faster healing time associated with this technique.
Important safety notes
Hip replacement surgery is intended to relieve hip pain and improve hip function. However, implants may not produce the same feel or function as your original hip. There are potential risks with hip replacement surgery such as loosening, fracture, dislocation, wear and infection that may result in the need for additional surgery. Longevity of implants depends on many factors, such as types of activities and weight. Do not perform high impact activities such as running and jumping unless your surgeon tells you the bone has healed and these activities are acceptable. Early device failure, breakage or loosening may occur if you do not follow your surgeon’s limitations on activity level. Early failure can happen if you do not guard your hip joint from overloading due to activity level, failure to control body weight, or accidents such as falls. Talk to your doctor to determine what treatment may be best for you.