The hip is one of the major joints of the human body. The hip is the anatomical region that joins the trunk and in particular its pelvic region to the thigh and therefore to the lower limb. It is an articulation that thanks to the ability of the femur to move on every axis allows us to walk, run, jump and perform all the leg movements.

Hip arthrosis or arthritis is a fairly common disorder that affects women as much as men.

The first symptoms may begin after the age of 45 and, in cases where the subjects are predisposed to particular risk factors, such as congenital dysplasia of the hip, the symptoms may appear even much earlier. Sometimes, when the disease becomes severe, it is necessary to undergo surgery.

The hip replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that involves removal of the hip joint damaged by chronic inflammatory diseases, such as arthrosis or arthritis, and its replacement with an artificial joint is often produced with metal components and plastic.

Usually, hip replacement is used as a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted to provide relief. The procedure is intended to alleviate the pain of the painful hip joint, making walking easier.

How is hip replacement surgery done?

Hip replacement surgery is performed under intradural block or general anesthesia. In particular, the surgeon makes a cut along the hip flank, moving the muscles connected to the upper part of the femur to expose the hip joint externally.

Subsequently, the ball-shaped part of the joint is removed by cutting the femur with a saw. At this point, the artificial joint is attached to the femur using cement. The surgeon then prepares the surface of the iliac bone, removing any damaged cartilage, connecting the replacement socket to the iliac bone. The new portion of the femoral head is then inserted into the pelvic area. The surgeon then attaches the muscles together and sutures the incision.

Hip replacement surgery may be done traditionally or using a minimally invasive technique. The principal difference between the two methods is the size of the incision. Smaller cuts are designed to reduce blood loss, relieve pain after surgery, reduce hospital stays, scars and accelerate healing.

The planned hospital stay is about 4-6 days during which the patient remains in bed rest.

A bladder catheter will probably be inserted into the bladder to help the patient pass urine.

The rehabilitative physical therapy usually begins after 24 hours, and soon, the patient is able to walk with a walker and later using crutches. This type of treatment can last for weeks or even months.

What activities to avoid after hip replacement surgery

For about 6 to 12 months after hip replacement surgery, one should avoid rotating or twisting the affected leg. The patient should not turn the involved leg inward and bend it over 90 degrees for both forward bending and squatting. Even after the hip joint has healed, some activities should be avoided.

There are some simple steps one can take to make life easier when the patient returns home after hip replacement surgery, including:

  • Avoiding the stairs
  • Sitting on a firm and straight chair; the sofa should not be used
  • To avoid falling, remove all the floor mats and of possible carpets
  • Use a raised seat to avoid bending too much

Hip prosthesis surgery has been performed for years, and surgical techniques are continually improving. As with any surgery, however, there are risks. Since the patient is not immediately able to move very much, it is possible that blood clots may form. For this reason, anticoagulants will be administered to help prevent the formation of thrombus. Infections and bleeding are also possible, as are the risks associated with the use of general anesthesia.

Hip replacement surgery cost in India

Hip replacement may be single or bilateral. In the case of bilateral operation, the second operation follows after 2 weeks. The average cost for hip replacement ranges between INR 1 lakh to 3 lakhs (for a single hip). That is about USD 1,400 to 5,200. The cost is lower at state hospitals. Minimally invasive treatments available at private hospitals are more expensive and range between USD 6,000 and 9,000.  

The choice of material, as well as the length of physiotherapy, also influences the cost. Some patients may require several months of postoperative care to achieve complete stability.