Hip replacement surgery may be recommended if you have suffered severe hip damage. It involves removing the damaged hip joint and replacing it with an artificial one. Statistics show that hip replacements last 15 years in 95% of the cases. Possible scenarios for needing a hip replacement:
- car crash victim suffered dislocated left hip and an impacted comminuted fracture of the acetabula and posterior wall of the right hip — after 8 months of rehabilitation, the car crash victim developed sciatic neuropathy of the right leg resulting in drop foot syndrome and needed hip replacement
- truck crash victim suffered herniated disc, fractured pelvis, and fractured hip — initially these injuries healed but the victim developed post-traumatic arthritis and required hip replacement
- motorcycle crash victim suffered numerous fractures of left hip, including fracture of femoral head, closed reduction surgery was performed — second surgery necessary and screws used to hold large bone fragments in place, but hip could not be stabilized and third surgery performed for hip replacement
Hip Replacement Complications
There can be many complications with a hip replacement. They include:
- Blood clots in the leg veins can develop due to decreased movement of the leg after surgery or possible injury to the veins during surgery. Blood-thinning medications are normally prescribed to prevent clots from forming. Compression devices or elastic stockings can be used to increase blood flow through the veins in your legs and reduce the risk of clots.
- Infections can occur at the incision and in the deep tissue near the new hip. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics, but a major infection near the prosthesis may require further surgery to remove and replace the prosthesis.
- A fracture can happen during surgery to healthy areas of the hip joint.
- Dislocation of the new hip joint can be an issue. If the artificial hip keeps dislocating, surgery may be required to stabilize it.
- The artificial hip can break, requiring another surgery to replace the broken joint.
- Change in leg length. The surgeon takes steps to avoid the problem, but occasionally the new hip will make the leg longer or shorter than the other one.
- Sometimes the soft tissue around the joint will harden and make the joint stiff to move.
- The prosthetic hip joint may wear out, requiring a second hip replacement surgery.
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