Arthritis is a common cause of hip pain and disability. It is a degenerative condition that causes the cartilage lining of the hip joint to wear away over time, such that the hip bones may begin to rub against one another.
While initial treatments for hip arthritis are typically nonsurgical, arthritis damage can progress to the point that these treatments are no longer effective. In these cases, hip replacement surgery may be considered. During hip replacement surgery, the damaged portions of the joint are removed and replaced with prosthetic components, with the goal of eliminating arthritis pain.
Our hip replacement surgeons, Dr. Kurt Larson, Dr. Eli Xhaferi and Dr. Timothy Neary, have over 45 years of combined experience with hip replacement surgery. Both Dr. Xhaferi and Dr. Larson are fellowship trained in adult reconstruction surgery with sole focus on hip and knee replacement and perform 400-500 total joint replacements per year. Dr. Xhaferi served as lead physician in developing the total joint replacement program at Mercy Hospital in Joplin, MO. Dr. Neary is also trained in hip replacement surgery.
Candidates for Hip Replacement Surgery
Our surgeons only recommend hip replacement surgery when less invasive treatments like anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy fail to provide adequate relief from arthritis symptoms.
Patients who are candidates for hip replacement surgery experience the following:
- Hip pain and/or stiffness that limits mobility, including walking and bending.
- Hip pain that is present even while at rest.
- Hip pain that persists even with extended use of nonsurgical treatments.
However, patients with pre-existing medical conditions like morbid obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, or heart disease may not qualify for hip replacement surgery. An evaluation with a qualified medical specialist is necessary to determine if a patient is a candidate for surgery.
Hip Replacement Procedure
During a hip replacement procedure, our surgeons remove the damaged portions of the hip joint and replace them with prosthetic components. This procedure is typically done under spinal anesthesia, and takes about 45 minutes to complete, on average.
There are different approaches to hip replacement that vary based on the location of the incision. The incision may be made at the front, back, or side of the hip. Dr. Larson prefers the more traditional posterior approach, in which an incision is made at the back of the hip. Dr. Xhaferi specializes in minimally invasive and muscle sparing anterior approach to hip replacement, in which the incision is made at the front of the hip. The incision is typically about 3 - 5 inches long depending on the patient. Dr. Neary is also well trained in the anterior approach to hip replacement and prefers this approach for his patients.
There are several potential benefits of anterior hip replacement. Because the incision is at the front of the hip, the major muscles do not need to be cut to access the joint. This can lead to less pain after surgery and a faster recovery. The anterior approach may also decrease the risk of dislocating the implants after surgery.
Recovering from Hip Replacement
Most patients stay overnight in the hospital following a hip replacement procedure. Pain levels in recovery vary from patient to patient, but your doctor will have a pain management plan in place to help with pain as you heal. Upon returning home, you may sleep in any position that is most comfortable. There is no need to avoid sleeping on the hip while you are recovering, though you may find it more comfortable to avoid sleeping on it if you are experiencing any pain.
The recovery timeline can vary, depending on the patient’s pre-surgery activity levels and overall health status. Patients typically begin walking with an assistive device like a walker, cane, or crutches soon after surgery, and continue to do so for an average of 6 weeks. Patients typically resume driving within 4 - 6 weeks of surgery, and are often able to resume most everyday activities within 6 - 12 weeks of surgery. However, your surgeon will advise when it is safe for you to resume activities based on your individual needs and progress. Full recovery typically takes about 2 - 3 months.
Physical therapy also plays a role in the recovery process. Physical therapy helps with improving range of motion and strength in the hip. More active patients may only need up to 2 weeks of physical therapy, while others may work with a physical therapist for 3 or more months.
Once fully recovered, there are no permanent restrictions for patients who have had hip replacements.
Hip Replacement Surgery in Fredericksburg, VA
Dr. Eli Xhaferi, Dr. Kurt Larson, and Dr. Timothy Neary, our hip replacement surgeons, have over 45 years of combined experience with hip replacement surgery. Both Dr. Xhaferi and Dr. Larson are board certified and fellowship trained in total joint replacement, and Dr. Neary also has excellent training in hip replacement. Our specialists only recommend surgery when less invasive treatments have failed to provide adequate relief of hip arthritis. If you would like to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Xhaferi or Dr. Larson, please call our office at (540) 361-1830 or request an appointment online.