1. What is the difference between direct anterior & traditional hip replacement? 

Total hip replacement is a highly successful surgical procedure that can greatly improve the quality of life for patients suffering from severe hip pain. 

The direct anterior approach to hip replacement is a surgical technique in which the removal and replacement of a damaged or diseased hip joint is through a small incision at the front of the body. Traditional hip replacement procedures approach the hip from the side. 

During total hip replacement, both the ball of the upper thighbone and socket of the pelvis are removed. Your orthopedic surgeon will then replace the removed joint components with an artificial joint (prosthetic implant), which is composed of both metal and plastic and designed to replicate the natural movement of the hip. 

2. What are the benefits of total hip replacement? 

Total hip replacement restores the natural pain-free movement of the hip joint. Patients are often able to return to their favorite activities, including running, biking, golfing, and tennis. 

After recovery, hip replacement patients often find that the hip joint is also stronger and more flexible than before surgery, and they are able to complete tasks that were previously difficult due to chronic hip pain. 

3. When is total hip replacement recommended? 

Total hip replacement surgery is recommended for patients suffering from advanced arthritis of the hip, who are no longer able to manage pain symptoms through a combination of conservative treatments. Your orthopedic surgeon will complete an in-depth evaluation of the location and severity of joint damage in order to determine if total hip replacement will relieve pain symptoms and return joint function. 

4. What are the most common forms of hip arthritis? 

The most common forms of hip arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and the leading cause of hip pain. During the early stages of osteoarthritis, the cartilage on the ends of bones inflames, resulting in stiffness after long periods of rest, as well as pain during more active periods. 

As the disease progresses, the protective cartilage begins to wear away because of the chronic inflammation. This allows the ends of the hip bones to rub together during movement, causing pain, bone damage, increasing pain and stiffness, and the inability to complete simple tasks, such as walking. Patients over the age of 50, have a family history of the disease, or have had a past hip injury, have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease most common in middle-aged women, patients with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, and patients between the ages of 40 and 60. Unlike osteoarthritis, which typically only affects one joint, rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the corresponding joints on both sides of the body, such as both the left and right hip joints. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include increasing pain, stiffness after periods of rest, swelling around the hip joints, and decreasing range of motion. 

5. What is the recovery process for total hip replacement surgery? 

Total replacement surgery can be done as an in-patient procedure, which requires patients to stay at the hospital for 1 to 3 days to maintain a successful recovery. In some cases, total hip replacement can be done as an outpatient procedure in an ambulatory surgical center, and patients can return home the same day. 

Approximately 24 hours post-surgery, hip replacement patients will begin working one-on-one with a physical therapist to learn how to use their new joint, begin walking, and regaining strength. Upon returning home, patients will need to continue to take pain medications, as well as use the assistance of crutches or a cane to complete daily activities. 

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