To help diagnose the cause of the problem, your doctor will ask medical history questions, such as:
X-rays of the hip may be necessary.
Your doctor may tell you to take a higher dose of over-the-counter medication, or give you a prescription anti-inflammatory medication.
Surgical repair or hip replacement may be recommended for aseptic necrosis. Hip replacement is necessary for hip fracture and severe arthritis. With current technology, an artificial hip should last at least 10 to 15 years. Expect recovery from surgery to take at least 6 weeks.
The hip is a ball and socket joint, linking the "ball" at the head of the thigh bone (femur) with the cup-shaped "socket" in the pelvic bone. A total hip prosthesis is surgically implanted to replace the damaged bone within the hip joint.
The total hip prosthesis consists of three parts:
If the surgery is a "hemi-arthroplasty," the only bone replaced with a prosthetic device is the head of the femur.
You will receive an extensive preoperative evaluation of your hip to determine if you are a candidate for a hip replacement procedure. Your health care provider will assess the degree of disability, impact on your lifestyle, and pre-existing medical conditions. The health care provider will also evaluate your heart and lung function.
The surgery will be performed using general or spinal anesthesia. The orthopedic surgeon makes an surgical cut, often over the buttocks, to expose the hip joint. The head of the thigh bone is removed and removed. Then, the hip socket is cleaned out and a tool called a reamer removes all of the remaining cartilage and arthritic bone.
The new socket is implanted, after which the metal stem is inserted into the thigh bone. The artificial components are fixed in place, sometimes with a special cement. The muscles and tendons are then replaced against the bones and the surgical cut is closed.
You will return from surgery with a large dressing on the hip area. A small drainage tube will be placed during surgery to help drain excess fluids from the joint area. Many surgeons also place a knee immobilizer or special pillow between the legs in the operating room to prevent the hip from dislocating.
You will have moderate to severe pain after surgery. However, you will receive painkillers for the first day or more after surgery. Painkillers may be given through a vein ( intravenously, or IV) through the spinal cord (an epidural), or by way of a special patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device.
The pain should gradually decrease, and by the third day after surgery, painkillers, taken by mouth, may be sufficient to control your pain. Try to schedule your pain medications about 30 minutes before walking or changing position.
You will also return from surgery with several IV lines in place to provide fluids and nutrition. The IV will remain in place until you are drinking adequate amounts of fluids.
If the procedure is elective (planned in advance rather than in response to an injury), you can donate blood several weeks prior to surgery to replace any blood lost during the procedure.
Sometimes, the blood that is drained from the wound during surgery is collected in a special sterile container to be reinfused through an IV after surgery.
You will also return from surgery wearing special stockings or inflatable compression stockings, which are used to reduce your risk of developing blood clots . Blood clots are more common after leg surgery.
Start moving and walking early after surgery. On the first day after surgery, you should get out of bed to a chair. When in bed, perform ankle exercises frequently to prevent development of blood clots.
You may be instructed on how to use a device called a spirometer, which shows how much air you breathe in at one time. You'll be shown how to gradually increase the depth of each breath you take, and to perform deep breathing and cough procedures to prevent pneumonia.
A Foley catheter may be inserted during surgery to monitor your kidney function and fluid level. It will be removed after surgery. You will be encouraged to try to walk to the bathroom with assistance.
You will remain in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after surgery. However, some people may need to stay temporarily at a rehabilitation unit or long-tern care center until mobility has improved and they are safely able to live independently. These centers will provide intensive physical therapy to assist you in regaining muscle strength and flexibility in the joint.
Be careful after surgery that you don't dislocate the artificial hip. The new hip will not have the same range of movement of the original joint, although you should eventually be able to return to your previous level of activity. While you should avoid vigorous sports such skiing or contact sports, many people go on to play tennis and golf quite successfully.
The use of crutches or a walker may be necessary for as long as 3 months, although most people who did not use them before are able to walk without them in several weeks.
Many surgeons place their patients on blood thinners for several weeks after surgery to help prevent blood clots. These may be taken in the form of pills (either Coumadin or aspirin) or injections.
The new joint has a limited range of movement. You will need to take special precautions to avoid displacing the joint, including: