Hip Replacement Surgery


Q1. What is total hip replacement? Who is suitable for the procedure?
Cartilage damage or avascular necrosis in hip joints can lead to severe abrasion, even death of bone tissues and cartilages around the femur. As the hip joints bear the whole body weight, one may suffer severe hip pain while walking. The pain is much reduced if one is implanted with an artificial joint to replace the damaged tissues and support the legs.
Q2. Does artificial hip joint only last for 10 years? What materials are more durable?
Thanks to the advance in design and materials in recent years, artificial hip joints are now more durable.  We used to say the artificial joints could last about 10 years, but the truth is, 15 years after operation, they still function in over 90% of patients. If no specific problems arise, the implanted joints can still function without revision surgery. In some patients they can be used for more than 15 years, while in others they may last for over 20 years, though an annual checkup is required to monitor the joint condition. As regards the new materials, those made with better plastics and smooth ceramic layers are less prone to abrasion and more durable.
Q3. Can total hip replacement be performed with minimally invasive surgery?
Thanks to the development of materials and surgical equipment, a long incision is no longer required in total hip replacement. The surgical wound is far smaller than that of the conventional method. Minimally invasive technique may not be suitable due to the size of the artificial joint, which makes it less likely to be placed through several keyholes. But the wound is smaller, and recovery is quicker.
Q4. What are the benefits of robotic technologies in total hip replacement surgery?
For implantation of artificial joint, implant position must be accurate. Joint dislocation may occur if it is less than optimal. Also the joint may wear out easily. With robotic-assisted surgery, the procedure can be performed with very high accuracy and as per the doctor’s instructions before surgery.
Q5. What post-operative care should be taken to prevent joint dislocation?
As the single most important factor to prevent joint dislocation, the artificial joint must be implanted with high accuracy during the operation. To tighten the joint and prevent joint dislocation, rehabilitation is required after surgery to train and strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. Patients may also need to take antibiotics before undergoing other operations or dental surgeries to prevent infection of the artificial joint. 
Q6. Is total hip replacement suitable for all patients?
Total hip replacement is suitable for most patients, except those who cannot undergo the procedure under general anaesthesia. In case of joint bacterial infection, it has to be postponed until the joint is cured.

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