Specialists

Featured on Channel NewsAsia

Total Hip Replacement in Singapore

Total Hip Replacement

Total Hip Replacement

What is Total Hip Replacement?

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant. Hip replacement surgery can be performed as a total replacement or a hemi replacement. Such joint replacement orthopaedic surgery generally is conducted to relieve arthritis pain or fix severe physical joint damage as part of hip fracture treatment. A total hip replacement (total hip arthroplasty) consists of replacing both the acetabulum and the femoral head while hemiarthroplasty generally only replaces the femoral head. Hip replacement is currently the most successful and reliable orthopaedic operation with 97% of patients reporting improved outcome.

Who is a candidate for Total Hip Replacement?

Total hip replacements are performed most commonly because of progressively worsening severe arthritis in the hip joint. The most common type of arthritis leading to total hip replacement is degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) of the hip joint. This type of arthritis is generally seen with aging, congenital abnormality of the hip joint, or prior trauma to the hip joint. Other conditions leading to total hip replacement include bony fractures of the hip joint, rheumatoid arthritis, and death (aseptic necrosis) of the hip bone. Hip bone necrosis can be caused by fracture of the hip, drugs (such as prednisone and prednisolone), alcoholism, and diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus).

The progressively intense chronic pain together with impairment of daily function including walking, climbing stairs, and even arising from a sitting position, eventually become reasons to consider a total hip replacement. Because replaced hip joints can fail with time, whether and when to perform total hip replacement are not easy decisions, especially in younger patients. Replacement is generally considered after pain becomes so severe that it impedes normal function despite use of anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications. A total hip joint replacement is an elective procedure, which means that it is an option selected among other alternatives. It is a decision which is made with an understanding of the potential risks and benefits. A thorough understanding of both the procedure and anticipated outcome is an important part of the decision-making process.

What are total hip replacement complication?

The risks of total hip replacement include blood clots in the lower extremities that can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Severe cases of pulmonary embolism are rare but can cause respiratory failure and shock. Other problems include difficulty with urination, local skin or joint infection, fracture of the bone during and after surgery, scarring and limitation of motion of the hip, and loosening of the prosthesis which eventually leads to prosthesis failure. Because total hip joint replacement requires anesthesia, the usual risks of anesthesia apply and include heart arrhythmias, liver toxicity, and pneumonia.

What are preparation needed for the Surgery?

Total hip joint replacement can involve blood loss. Patients planning to undergo total hip replacement often will donate their own (autologous) blood to be banked for transfusion during the surgery. Should blood transfusion be required, the patient will have the advantage of having his or her own blood available, thus minimizing the risks related to blood transfusions. The preoperative evaluation generally includes a review of all medications being taken by the patient. Anti-inflammatory medications, including aspirin, are often discontinued one week prior to surgery because of the effect of these medications on platelet function and blood clotting. They may be reinstituted after surgery. Other preoperative evaluations include complete blood counts, electrolytes (potassium, sodium, chloride, bicarbonate), blood tests for kidney and liver functions, urinalysis, chest X-ray, EKG, and a physical examination. Your physician will determine which of these tests are required, based on your age and medical conditions. Any indications of infection, severe heart or lung disease, or active metabolic disturbances such as uncontrolled diabetes may postpone or defer total hip joint surgery.

What is the rehabilitation after hip replacement surgery?

Rehabilitation and physical therapy are started immediately following surgery and continue throughout hospitalization and at home for one year after surgery. On the first day after surgery, the physical therapist will meet with you in your hospital room for an assessment. On the second day, you will go to the Physical Therapy department by wheelchair for treatment. Your physical therapist will monitor the strength and flexibility in your leg and hip, as well as your ability to stand and sit. In addition, a physical therapist will provide goals and instructions for you to complete while in the hospital and at home.

Your doctor may determine that it is best for your recovery if you go to a rehabilitation center after discharge from the hospital. At the rehabilitation center, you will have concentrated time with a physical therapist and occupational therapist and will regain your strength, learn about all your exercises and the precautions that you’ll need to follow. Your length of stay at this facility is approximately five to 14 days. Your doctor’s physician assistant or nurse will discuss facilities available for your needs.

What is involved in the rehabilitation process?

After total hip joint replacement surgery, patients often start physical therapy immediately! On the first day after surgery, it is common to begin some minor physical therapy while sitting in a chair. Eventually, rehabilitation incorporates stepping, walking, and climbing. Initially, supportive devices such as a walker or crutches are used. Pain is monitored while exercise takes place. Some degree of discomfort is normal. It is often very gratifying for the patient to notice, even early on, substantial relief from the preoperative pain for which the total hip replacement was performed.

Physical therapy is extremely important in the overall outcome of any joint replacement surgery. The goals of physical therapy are to prevent contractures, improve patient education, and strengthen muscles around the hip joint through controlled exercises. Contractures result from scarring of the tissues around the joint. Contractures do not permit full range of motion and therefore impede mobility of the replaced joint. Patients are instructed not to strain the hip joint with heavy lifting or other unusual activities at home. Specific techniques of body posturing, sitting, and using an elevated toilet seat can be extremely helpful. Patients are instructed not to cross the operated lower extremity across the midline of the body (not crossing the leg over the other leg) because of the risk of dislocating the replaced joint. They are discouraged from bending at the waist and are instructed to use a pillow between the legs when lying on the nonoperated side in order to prevent the operated lower extremity from crossing over the midline. Patients are given home exercise programs to strengthen the muscles around the buttock and thigh. Most patients attend outpatient physical therapy for a period of time while incorporating home exercises regularly into their daily living.

Occupational therapists are also part of the rehabilitation process. These therapists review precautions with the patients related to everyday activities. They also educate the patients about the adaptive equipment that is available and the proper ways to do their “ADLs” or activities of daily living.

Learn more…

Basics
Description
  • Many forms of arthritis lead to destruction of the articular cartilage of the hip joint, resulting in pain and loss of function.
  • End-stage arthritis can be treated with surgical replacement of the joint.
  • Elderly patients may have a greater risk of cardiac complications and more associated medical problems than younger patients.
  • Patients <50 years old:
    • Are likely to need revision surgery because their life expectancy may exceed the longevity of the prosthesis
    • Other treatment options, such as medical management, hip fusion, and femoral osteotomy, should be strongly considered in the younger, high-demand patient.
  • Hip replacements may be anchored to the bone with bone cement or with uncemented techniques that allow the bone to grow into the implant.
General Prevention
Weight loss and limitation of activity may postpone the need for hip replacement.
 
Epidemiology
Most hip replacements are performed in patients >65 years old, but the procedure is being performed more commonly in younger patients than in the past.
 
Incidence
  • >200,000 total hip replacements are performed in the United States each year.
  • The number of hip replacements continues to increase.
Risk Factors
  • Primary osteoarthritis may be more common in high-demand athletes and obese patients.
  • Osteonecrosis has been linked to prolonged steroid use, alcoholism, radiation, and trauma.
  • Osteoporosis often leads to femoral neck fractures in elderly patients.
Genetics
  • Possible familial predisposition to primary osteoarthritis
  • No Mendelian pattern of inheritance
Pathophysiology
Pathological Findings
The common denominators in all forms of arthritis are breakdown of the articular cartilage, loss of the proteoglycan, and gradual cartilage dissolution.
 
Etiology
  • Primary osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disabling hip arthritis.
  • Traumatic arthritis, osteonecrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia, recurrent hemarthrosis, Paget disease, and AS all may lead to degenerative destruction of the hip joint.
  • Developmental conditions such as SCFE, DDH, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease all may lead to degenerative joint disease later in life.
  • Some acute hip fractures also may be treated with partial or total hip replacement.
Associated Conditions
Degenerative joint disease of the contralateral hip, either knee, the lumbar spine, and the upper extremities often is seen in patients requiring hip replacement.
 
Diagnosis
  • Primary osteoarthritis of the hip may result in pain in the groin, the lateral thigh, or radiating to the knee.
  • Pain is more common with activity but may eventually become present at rest and at night.
  • In advanced stages, pain may limit the patient to needing rest after walking <1 block.
  • Limitation of ROM, especially of flexion, extension, and internal rotation, may be present.
  • With ambulation, abductor lurch may be evident.
Signs and Symptoms
  • Incapacitating arthritis of the hip commensurate with physical and radiographic findings
  • Failure to walk more than a few blocks without stopping
  • Pain unrelieved by standard arthritis medication
  • Pain after activity
  • Difficulty with activities of daily living, including dressing, grooming, and climbing stairs
Physical Exam
  • Perform a neurovascular examination of the affected extremity.
  • Record the ROM of the hip.
  • Pay special attention to contractures, leg-length discrepancy, and gluteal muscle strength.
  • Assess the patient’s gait.
  • Pain at extremes of motion
  • Positive Trendelenburg test
  • Groin or anterior thigh pain with active straight-leg raises
Tests
Lab
  • For total hip replacement, order the following before surgery:
    • Complete blood count
    • Blood chemistry studies
    • Coagulation times
  • Electrocardiogram, chest radiographs, and urinalysis should be obtained when appropriate.
  • Many patients are able to donate autologous units of blood 4-6 weeks before surgery.
Imaging
  • Radiography:
    • AP pelvis and frog-leg lateral hip radiographs usually are adequate for assessing the hip joint.
    • Long, standing films of the lower extremities and pelvis may be helpful.
Differential Diagnosis
  • Hip pain may be caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated lumbar disc.
  • Low back pain of any cause may radiate to the lateral thigh and hip.
  • Trochanteric bursitis may result in lateral hip pain.
  • Stress fracture
  • Occult neoplasms, such as metastatic bone disease, multiple myeloma, and primary mesenchymal tumors, also can cause hip pain.
Treatment
Special Therapy
Physical Therapy
  • Postoperative patients are instructed in strengthening exercises, especially hip flexion, extension, and abduction.
  • Transfer and gait training with a standup walker are emphasized.
Medication
First Line
  • Analgesics in the acute postoperative period
  • Postoperative patients require prolonged treatment for prophylaxis of DVT with warfarin (Coumadin) or low-molecular-weight heparin.
Surgery
  • Total hip replacement consists of a metal femoral component and a head that replaces the proximal femur.
    • The acetabulum most commonly is replaced with a metal shell that has a high-density polyethylene plastic insert.
    • The components may be fixed to the bone with or without cement.
      • Uncemented components have a rough surface to allow for bony ingrowth.
  • Surgical approaches:
    • Anterior (Smith-Peterson)
      • Superficial interval: Sartorius and tensor fascia lata
      • Deep interval: Rectus femoris and gluteus medius
      • Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is in danger because it penetrates the sartorial fascia.
    • Anterolateral (Watson-Jones approach):
      • Interval between the gluteus medius muscle and the tensor fascia lata
    • Lateral (Hardinge):
      • The anterior 1/3 of the gluteus medius and minimus are reflected off the greater trochanter.
      • The superior gluteal nerve and artery can be injured with anterior reflection of the gluteus medius.
      • Slower abductor rehabilitation
    • Posterior (Langenbeck/Moore):
      • Splitting of the gluteus maximus with release of short external rotators
      • The sciatic nerve should be identified and protected.
      • Higher dislocation rate than with other approaches, especially without capsular repair
  • Bearing surfaces: The acetabular liner and the femoral head ball can be made of different materials to prevent wear.
    • Metal on polyethylene:
      • Standard option
      • Newer highly cross-linked polyethylenes are thought to decrease wear rates.
      • Polyethylene wear debris leads to osteolysis and component loosening.
    • Metal on metal:
      • Very low wear rates
      • Metal ion debris can accumulate in the bloodstream and organs.
      • Very large head size may decrease dislocation rates and increase ROM.
    • Ceramic on ceramic:
      • Very low wear rates
      • Very low rate of ceramic fracture
      • No liner options
  • Minimally invasive surgery:
    • Some approaches may limit muscle damage.
    • Multimodal approaches to anesthesia and therapy have hastened recovery.
    • Some evidence suggests that smaller incisions are not responsible for faster recovery.
Follow-up
Prognosis
  • Hip arthroplasty has excellent long-term results, with many patients ambulating without external support and resuming previously impossible activities.
  • A long-term study has shown that 85% of cemented prostheses survive for 20 years.
  • Uncemented components also have an excellent long-term performance.
Complications
  • Postoperative medical complications:
    • Myocardial infarction
    • Pneumonia
    • Urinary retention
    • Ileus
    • Death
  • Leg-length discrepancy
  • DVT and PE
  • Infection
  • Revision surgery
  • Polyethylene wear
  • Osteolysis
  • Dislocation
  • Periprosthetic fracture
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Loosening
  • Nerve palsy
Patient Monitoring
  • The importance of long-term radiographic monitoring must be stressed.
    • Radiographs should be taken at 1-2-year intervals to look for polyethylene wear and osteolysis.
  • After hip replacement, patients should receive antibiotic prophylaxis before dental work.
Miscellaneous
Codes
ICD9-CM
715.95 Hip osteoarthritis
 
Patient Teaching
  • Patients must understand that hip arthroplasty is a major surgical procedure that requires months of substantial activity limitation and may require a full year to achieve full benefit.
  • They must be prepared to adhere to the hip precautions taught in physical therapy and to contribute to the rehabilitation process.
Activity
  • Weightbearing after surgery depends on surgeon technique and preference, but as-tolerated is common.
  • Patients may be given motion restrictions to prevent dislocation; most commonly, avoidance of hip flexion >90° and crossing the legs.
FAQ
Q: When should I have a hip replacement?
A: Hip replacement has an excellent chance of reducing pain and improving function. However, it is major surgery with serious potential complications, including death. A patient should have severe pain and disability before considering surgery.

Comments are closed.