What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause damage to one or more joints.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where there is gradual wear and tear of a joint.
Some other types of arthritis are associated with inflammation of the joints that can eventually lead to severe joint damage.
Arthritis eventually wears away the normal cartilage covering the surface of the joint and the bone underneath becomes damaged. This causes pain and stiffness in the joint, which can interfere with normal activities.
What are the benefits of surgery?
You should get less pain and be able to walk more easily.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain of arthritis.
Using a walking stick on the opposite side to the affected hip can make walking easier, as can a small shoe-raise on the affected side.
Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness in your hip. Physiotherapy may help to strengthen weak muscles.
A steroid injection into your hip joint can sometimes reduce pain and stiffness for several months.
What does the operation involve?
Various anaesthetic techniques are possible.
The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.
Your surgeon will make a cut on the side of your hip and remove the damaged ball and socket of your hip. They will then insert an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. The implant is fixed into the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings that bond directly to the bone.
How soon will I recover?
You can go home when your pain is under control, you can get about safely, and any care you may need has been arranged.
You may need to use a walking aid for a few weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Most people make a good recovery, have less pain, and can move about better.
A hip replacement can wear out with time.
What complications can happen?
Some complications can be serious and even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Unsightly scarring of your skin
- Blood clot in your leg
- Blood clot in your lung
- Difficulty passing urine
- Chest infection
- Heart attack
Specific complications of this operation
- Split in the femur
- Infection in your hip
- Damage to blood vessels
- Loosening without infection
- Damage to nerves around your hip
- Bone forming in muscles around your hip replacement
- Dislocation of your hip replacement
- Leg length difference
National Joint Registry information
The NJR brings many benefits to the hospitals in which data is collected by providing an annual report on their performance and an NJR regional support network – an overview of these and other benefits can be found here.
A wide range of implants can be used in the joint replacement operations and by collecting data on outcomes, the registry monitors the performance of these implants and the effectiveness of their use in different types of joint replacement, with a key focus on patient safety and improving clinical standards; benefiting patients, clinicians and the orthopaedic sector as a whole.
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