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About Hip Replacement

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure. You are given a general anaesthetic and the surgeon replaces the damaged parts of the hip joint with artificial materials. Hip replacement surgery is most commonly offered to people with arthritis, where the cartilage has completely worn away and the sensation of grinding bone-on-bone causes extreme and debilitating pain. Some patients may have tried a range of non-operative treatments prior to having surgery. Other conditions such as growth abnormalities, trauma/fracture, Paget's disease and Perthes disease, avascular necrosis and other inflammatory arthritic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis are also often treated with hip replacement.

Hip replacement surgery takes about 90 minutes. Patients are usually up on their feet and walking (assisted) within a day and patients are generally out of hospital after 5 days. There is then a period of rehabilitation which can be done in a rehabilitation hospital, through the Mater Day Therapy program or at home. By six weeks after the surgery, patients are returning to normal daily activities (driving, working) and by three months, patients are usually able to begin playing a bit of golf and tennis.

Total Hip Replacement

This is the most common type of hip replacement done in Australia and around the world. It is a very successful operation which alleviates the extraordinary pain associated with hip arthritis and other hip problems. It involves replacing the damaged part of the femur with a new ball and stem that fits into the femur. The ball fits into a new acetabulum (socket) which is implanted into the pelvis to replace the damaged bone.

The components of the hip implants used most often by Dr Walter are made from ceramic and titanium. The materials and designs have been tested, modified and fine-tuned over many years. Longevity depends on various factors and each patient is different, but we expect the majority of today's hip replacements to last at least 15 years and they may last longer.

Revision of Hip Replacement

Revision surgery is done for a number of reasons. Occasionally, complications may develop which may necessitate the revision of the prosthesis, but the most common reason for revising hip replacements is because hip replacements done in the 1990s have worn out, ten to fifteen years after the surgery was done.

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