Hip replacement surgery – the facts

Posted on 30 September 2020

If non-operative measures haven’t worked, a hip replacement can be a good option to improve your pain, mobility and quality of life.

Osteoarthritis of the hip develops due to the degeneration of the cartilage lining the hip joint, explains Dr Jan Joubert, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Mediclinic Panorama and Mediclinic Winelands Orthopaedic Hospital.

‘This leads to pain in the back, buttock, groin and thigh – spreading to the knee. In advanced osteoarthritis of the hip, the hip becomes stiff, resulting in impairment of activity and loss of mobility. This can be effectively treated by total hip replacement surgery and the good news is that anterior minimally invasive (AMIS) technique will make your hip replacement less painful, and your recovery much easier.’

Dr Adriaan van Huyssteen, a consultant orthopaedic hip and knee surgeon at Mediclinic Panorama, adds that in total hip replacement surgery, the painful parts of the damaged hip are replaced with a prosthesis,. ‘The modern hip replacement prosthesis consists of uncemented titanium components: a socket, head, and stem. The outer shell of the socket is usually made of metal and the inner shell consists of cross-linked polyethyline (hardened plastic). When a  ceramic  head is joined with the socket, the new hip  allows for smooth, nearly frictionless movement.’

A minimally invasive approach to the hip joint can be done with anterior or posterior approaches. With these techniques, a small incision limits blood loss and pain, which means a shorter hospital stay and recovery time. Dr Joubert explains that  the AMIS incision is done at the front of the hip, rather than the side or back .

The technique is performed through an anterior incision of 6-8cm.  The approach follows natural tissue planes, preserving all muscles surrounding the hip joint.  These muscles are essential for early recovery and long-term hip function. Your new hip prosthesis will help you resume activities that were previously impossible, allowing you to move freely.

‘Many patients have postponed elective surgical procedures, such as hip, knee and ankle surgery because of fears of transmitting the virus  during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ says Dr van Huyssteen. ‘Now that we are  comfortable the peak is behind us, there is no need to delay medical care that can significantly improve your quality of life. Mediclinic has stringent measures in place to ensure your safety – and we can proceed with elective surgeries as needed.’


Published in Orthopaedics

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