Hip replacement surgery is easier than you think [INFOGRAPHIC]
Posted on 5 February 2021
Mediclinic’s Care Expert programme has taken hip replacement surgery to the next level. Here’s what you need to know about this life-changing procedure.
Arthritis is one of the primary causes of hip degeneration, as are fractures and bone deformities. If the condition reaches a point where non-invasive treatments aren’t working, hip replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, may be the answer. In this procedure, the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant to relieve chronic pain – and despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential healthcare, hip arthroplasty is increasingly done.
“Hip replacement is usually considered when all other treatments have proved unsuccessful,” says Debbie Uys, a Care Expert Navigator at Mediclinic Durbanville. “This procedure should relieve a painful hip joint, make walking easier and improve quality of life.”
With the progress of technology, the procedure has become more efficient, with shorter recovery times, although patients still need to be aware of various preoperative protocols. They must understand what kinds of medication to avoid pre-surgery, and how to prepare for postoperative recovery. They may also be prescribed strengthening exercises pre-surgery.
“The duration of the hospital stay and recovery process depends on the surgical approach to the hip and the patient’s health,” explains Uys, “so it’s important that the patient understands the expectations”. Patients are asked to bring in any medication they take in its original packaging with them when admitted. Discharge planning and possible step-down care also contribute to a better recovery outcome.
After the procedure, patients are transferred to the general ward, and most will be eating and drinking within a few hours. An intravenous (IV) line is standard practice as are compression stockings or pumps to prevent blood clots. Early or same-day mobilisation is also encouraged.
“A haemoglobin blood test is done either six hours or 12 hours post-surgery,” says Uys. “Anticoagulation and pain medication are also administered, as are antibiotics. Pain medication is taken orally within 24 hours as antibiotics and the IV line are discontinued.
“Based on the results of X-rays and a physiotherapy regime, patients can generally expect to be discharged within three days. Optimal recovery requires well-controlled pain management and mobility, as well as the patient’s ability to manage their self-care before discharge.”