What You Need to Know about a Total Hip Arthroplasty?
A total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a suggested treatment for a variety of conditions. This article will walk you through what to expect from the procedure and what can be done about a failed total hip arthroplasty if you have already undergone one.
What is a total hip arthroplasty?
A total hip arthroplasty (also known as a primary total hip replacement) is a surgical procedure in which a damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial joint device. In a normal hip joint, the ball of the head of the femur bone fits into the socket of the larger pelvis bone, known as the acetabulum.
To protect and cushion the joint, a layer of articular cartilage coats both the ball and socket of the joint. This cartilage and the surrounding synovial membrane allow the joint to function smoothly whenever you move your hip.
In a diseased hip joint, this cartilage begins to wear away, leaving the bone surfaces of the femur and pelvis to rub against each other. The bone surfaces that compose the joint can even develop bone spurs from the lack of cartilage. This bone-on-bone friction can cause considerable pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the affected hip, making it difficult to go about daily life for many people.
To restore normal functioning of the hip, an orthopedic surgeon can perform a total hip arthroplasty. In this procedure, the surgeon will remove the damaged portion of the “socket” in the pelvis and replace it with a metal socket. The damaged head of the femur is also removed and replaced with a metal ball that connects to the remaining part of the femur. This new artificial joint is fitted with a liner in between the new metal surfaces to allow the joint to move smoothly again.
What conditions can a total hip arthroplasty treat?
A variety of conditions can be treated with a total hip arthroplasty depending on their severity and a doctor’s recommendation. Conditions that are commonly treated with this procedure include
- Osteoarthritis: Often developing in older adulthood, the cartilage cushioning the joint begins to gradually wear away.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: For some, their immune system begins to attack the synovial membrane, leading to inflammation and damaged cartilage in the joint.
- Hip fractures: A severe fracture or injury to the hip can lead to damaged cartilage in the joint.
- Osteonecrosis: If a bone has a limited blood supply from an injury or fracture, the bone tissue is more susceptible to weakening and collapsing, which can lead to painful arthritis.
Many of these conditions get progressively worse over time. More conservative treatments can often address initial symptoms of pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion, but those who have more severe cases may be good candidates for a total hip arthroplasty after speaking with their doctor.
What to do if you experience a failed total hip arthroplasty
While most total hip arthroplasty procedures are effective and reduce patients’ overall pain, they can occasionally fail for a variety of reasons.
The most common reasons for a failed THA are
- Dislocation: Sometimes, the new head of the femur can dislodge from its new socket, preventing smooth hip movements.
- Loosening of the artificial joint: If not properly secured, the artificial joint can become unstable or loose, which will also interfere with normal hip movement. Osteolysis, or the gradual destruction of bone tissue, can also contribute to the loosening of the new joint.
While the recovery period for a hip replacement can take several weeks, you should be able to resume some normal activities after your recovery period. If not, there may be a complication with your procedure.
If you have had a hip replacement, watch out for the following signs that may signal that your procedure was not successful:
- Pain in the hip and/or groin
- Stiffness in the hip
- Limited range of motion in the hip
- Difficulty moving around and functioning normally
If you suspect you may have a failed hip replacement, it’s time to seek an orthopaedic evaluation to determine whether you need a revision total hip replacement to replace the ineffective joint.
Getting evaluated for a total hip arthroplasty at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants
We understand how frustrating it can be to deal with painful arthritis every day. Our team of compassionate orthopaedic specialists and surgeons are ready to find the best treatment to help you get back to doing your favorite things.
Don’t put up with hip pain any longer. Book an appointment with us today!
Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.