Hip Replacement Relieves Pain and Restores Lives - Virtua Article

Hip Replacement Relieves Pain and Restores Lives

By —Orthopedic Surgeon, Virtua Joint Replacement Institute 

Millions of individuals suffer from hip pain caused by osteoarthritis, a joint disease that affects cartilage, or the protective tissue at the ends of bones. Unfortunately, cortisone injections and painkillers provide only temporary relief of this pain. Today, orthopedic surgeons are continuously improving their techniques and procedures to enable people to live active, healthy lives well into advanced age.

How old do you have to be to have hip replacement? 

Years ago, it was thought that only older patients were candidates for joint replacements. Today, there is no “right” age to get a joint replacement. Many younger individuals now opt for the surgery, as the latest generation of these technologically advanced implants can last for 25 to 30 years.

How is hip replacement performed? 

At Virtua’s Joint Replacement Institute, hip pain sufferers have access to effective hip replacement options to help them get back to their daily activities. This surgery replaces the damaged hip joint with an artificial device. In fact, total hip replacement is the most successful elective surgery in modern medicine with published patient satisfaction rates of 95-99%.  

Like many surgeons, I perform robotic-assisted hip replacement surgery using specialized 3-D imaging of the patient’s anatomy. The surgeon-controlled robotic arm aids in the precise placement of the new joint into targeted alignment within the hip socket. This maximizes the life of the new joint and minimizes the risk of complications.

For total hip replacement surgeries, I use either the direct anterior approach or the mini-posterior approach. Many factors go into choosing the best approach for patients including physical characteristics like weight or deformity from arthritis, as well as age and overall health. 

The direct anterior approach is from the front, where the surgeon accesses the hip socket by separating, not cutting, the muscles. Since the dominant muscles used in standing and walking aren’t cut, patients tend to progress more rapidly in the early phase of recovery. The mini-posterior approach, where the surgeon also preserves muscle but accesses the hip from the side, is performed by 80% of the world's hip surgeons. It has consistent long-term results no matter the physical characteristics or health of the patient.   

What happens during recovery after hip replacement surgery? 

Rehabilitative care is offered following surgery while the patient is still in the hospital, and then is provided on an outpatient basis. The goal of Virtua's Joint Replacement Institute is to return patients to their active lifestyles in a comfortable, safe environment near their home.

Updated June 6, 2016

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