Partial hip replacement is a surgery that removes and replaces the ball of the hip joint with an artificial implant. It is not the replacement of the socket. The most common reason for this procedure is to heal specific types of hip fractures. It's usually done if a femoral neck fracture can't be healed and the socket is still intact or uninjured.
Scientific name: Hemiarthroplasty
Hip: where the top of the femur bone, or thighbone, fits into the pelvis
How is it performed?
Partial hip replacement surgery is a prolonged procedure that takes about an hour or two to complete. Prosthetic or man-made implants are used to replace the ball in the hip joint. A hip implant is a metal that connects the ceramic or metal ball to the stem. The stem is inserted into the thigh bone's core (femur) in any of the three ways:
- Cemented: Binding the hip implant to the bone.
- Uncemented: The hip implant has a stem with a porous layer that the bone can grow into.
- Hybrid: The stem is a combination of cemented and porous coating.
- You should make sure that your doctor is well-aware of the medications you are currently taking, and if you have diabetes.
- It would help if you quit smoking as it delays the recovery process, and alcohol should be limited or not consumed at all.
- On the day before the surgery, your vitals and important health parameters like heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure are checked.
- On the day of the surgery, you are advised to not eat, drink or consume anything for at least six hours before the partial hip replacement surgery.
Right after the surgery, you will be on painkillers through IV and medications to fight infection, nausea, and blood clots. Due to anesthesia, you won’t be able to feel anything below the waist region for a period. You might need some cushioning between your legs after surgery to ensure that your replaced hip remains in the proper position. Compression stockings may be worn to assist in avoiding blood clots. You may also need to wear compression sleeves over your legs to maintain the blood flow by squeezing and releasing your lower legs.
Risks and complications
- Blood clots: Blood clots forming in the veins of the legs shouldn’t be ignored and can be dangerous if they block the blood flow back to the heart or the lungs.
- Infection: Infection can be caused by incisions made in the tissue near the hip joint. It is a cause of concern if the infection occurs near the prosthetics. It is usually treated with antibiotics.
- Dislocation: This can occur if the implant is dislodged inside the body when the body is in certain positions.
- Fracture: Small fractures that occur during the surgery heal on their own, but the bigger ones need to be treated.
- Change in leg length: The difference is typically negligible and can be corrected.
- Loosening of implant: A rare complication.
The recovery process involves moving around without dislocating your hip, and you will be asked to follow hip precautions until the hip is fully healed. This includes not twisting the hip and making sure that the head, shoulders, knees and feet are all facing forward. While the number of painkillers will reduce in a couple of weeks, you will need to take medicines to prevent the formation of blood clots. To recover faster and better, you will require someone to help you move around until you have enough energy. You may need crutches or walkers to walk around. Complete recovery may take as long as six months.