Total Hip Replacement : Causes & Risks

Total Hip Replacement : Causes & Risks

Know more about Causes and Risks of Hip Replacement Procedure 

Total hip replacement is done for people who have hip joint damage caused by arthritis, injuries, fracture hip, bone tumor, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteonecrosis. Hip replacement surgery is recommended by doctors when hip pain and loss of function becomes severe and  all other modalities of treatment like medicines and physiotherapy have failed.  

Possible Risks of Total Hip Replacement Surgery
  • Blood clots: After a hip replacement, people can develop blood clots in a leg vein. It can be dangerous if it blocks blood flow from the leg back to the heart or moves to the lungs. Older, obese and overweight people, those who have had blood clots earlier or those who have cancer are usually more susceptible to blood clots. Early ambulation of patients after surgery and medicines or use of stocking is prescribed for those who are at risk.
  • Infections: It can occur at the site of incision and in the deeper tissues near the hip implant. People who have associated problems like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or chronic liver disease or those who are on corticosteroids are at higher risk of infection after a total hip replacement. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics. However, an infection near the prosthesis may require a second surgery to remove and replace the prosthesis.
  • Fracture: During surgery, fracture may occur in the adjoining healthy part of your hip joint.  Fractures that are small usually heal on their own, but larger fractures may be corrected with wires, cables or bone grafts.
  • Joint stiffening: At times the soft tissues around your joint harden thus making it difficult to move your hip. This is called ossification. This usually is not painful but if you are at risk of ossification, your doctor will recommend medications or radiation therapy to prevent it.
  • Problems with wound healing: People who are on long term corticosteroids or who have diseases that affect the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes may have this problem.
  • Hip dislocation after surgery: There is a slight possibility of a hip dislocation after total hip replacement. In such a situation, your doctor can treat this by moving the hip back into place after administering pain medicines or anesthesia. Wearing a brace would be required for a while. However, in a few cases, surgery may be needed to correct the dislocation.
  • Difference in leg length:  Measures are taken by your surgeon to avoid the problem. However occasionally a new hip may make one leg longer or shorter than the other. This is usually caused due to weakness in the muscles surrounding the hip. To rectify this, gradually strengthening and stretching those muscles can make the hip more stable.
  • The usual risks of general anesthesia: As general anesthesia is administered during the total hip replacement, there is bound to be risks associated with anesthesia. Risks are higher in people who have had a recent heart attack and those who have chronic lung, liver, kidney, or heart disease.
  • Loosening of the artificial hip joint parts: Loosening is the most common problem associated with total hip replacement. This usually happens when tissue grows between the components and the bone. If a loosened joint causes severe pain, you may need a second hip replacement.

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