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Total Hip Replacement
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Total hip replacement is surgery to replace a hip joint damaged by wear, injury, or disease. It is also called total hip arthroplasty. The hip joint is where the top of your femur (thigh bone) sits in the socket of your pelvic bone. The joint is held together by ligaments and muscles. The top of your femur is shaped like a ball and covered with cartilage. Cartilage is a tissue that helps joints move.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- You may be allergic to the anesthesia and have trouble breathing. You may bleed more than expected and need a blood transfusion. Your nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, or muscles may be damaged during surgery. Even after surgery, you may get an infection. You may have more hip pain, or your hip joint may become stiff or numb. Your joint movement may not be as stable as it was before your surgery. Your legs may not be the same length. You may have bone loss, or bones near the implant area may break or crack.
- You may get a blood clot in your leg. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs or brain. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. A blood clot in your brain can cause a stroke. These problems can be life-threatening.
- Your implant may get loose or move out of place. If this happens, you may need another surgery to replace the implant. You may also need surgery to remove infected tissues. If you do not have this surgery, your hip pain may get worse. You may have more trouble walking or moving around. You may also have trouble going back to your usual activities.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your surgery:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
During your surgery:
Your hip area will be cleaned. Your caregiver will make an incision on the front or side of your hip. The ball of your femur and the damaged cartilage in the socket of your pelvis will be removed with medical tools. The hip implant will be fitted to replace the bones that were removed. Your caregiver will use screws or cement to secure the implant. A drain may be placed to remove extra blood and fluids from the surgery area. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.
You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely. Do not try to get out of bed. When caregivers see that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. The bandage covering your incision will keep the area clean and dry to help prevent infections. A caregiver will remove the bandages soon after your surgery to check your wound.
- Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
- Pressure stockings: These are long, tight stockings that put pressure on your legs to promote blood flow and prevent clots.
- Pneumatic boots: Inflatable boots are put on your legs. The boots are connected to an air pump. The pump tightens and loosens different areas of the boots.
- Exercise: Move your legs, ankles, and feet as directed while you are in bed. You may be asked to stand the same day of your surgery. You may start to walk the day after your surgery.
- Support devices: You may need to use a cane, walker, or crutches. These devices will help decrease your risk of falling. Use your device as directed.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
- Prevent dislocation of your hip implant:
- Do not lean forward when you are in bed or sit up with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Do not sit on a low chair. Use armrests when you rise from a sitting position to decrease the force and pressure on your hips.
- Do not cross your legs.
- Pain medicine: Caregivers will give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
- Patient controlled analgesia: You may get pain medicine through an IV or an epidural line attached to a patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump. Caregivers set the pump to let you give yourself small amounts of pain medicine when you push a button. Your pump may also give you a constant amount of medicine, in addition to the medicine that you give yourself. Let caregivers know if your pain is still bad even with the pain medicine.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
- Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.