• Hip Replacement at St. Mary-Corwin

  • Hip Replacement Surgery at St. Mary-Corwin Pueblo What is total hip replacement?
    The term total hip replacement is misleading. The hip itself is not replaced, as is commonly thought, but rather an implant (prosthesis) is used to re-cap the worn bone ends. The head of the femur is removed. A metal stem is then inserted into the femur shaft and topped with a metal or ceramic ball. The implant is attached with special cement. The worn socket (acetabulum) is smoothed and lined with a metal cup and either a plastic, metal, or ceramic liner. No longer does bone rub on bone, causing pain and stiffness.

    How is the replacement performed?
    After anesthesia has taken effect:

    • The surgeon cuts open the hip, moves the top of the thigh bone out of the way. 
    • The hip socket is cleaned out - the rest of the cartilage and damaged/arthritic bone are removed.
    • The new hip is put in place and a metal stem is inserted into the thigh bone.
    • A correctly sized ball is placed into the new joint and then all new parts are secured in place.
    • After the prosthesis is in place the surgeon will repair the muscles and tendons around the implant.

    How long will my new hip last and can a second replacement be done?
    All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on an individual's age, weight, activity level, and medical condition(s). A total joint implant's longevity will vary in every patient. It is important to remember that an implant is a medical device subject to wear that may lead to mechanical failure. While it is important to follow all of the surgeon's recommendations after surgery, there is no guarantee that a particular implant will last for any specified length of time.

    What are the major risks?
    Most surgeries go well, without any complications. Infection and blood clots are two serious complications. To avoid these complications, the surgeon may use antibiotics and blood thinners. Surgeons also take special precautions in the operating room to reduce the risk of infection.

    What happens during the surgery?
    St. Mary-Corwin reserves approximately two hours for surgery. Some of this time will be taken by the operating room staff to prepare for surgery. Patients may have a general anesthetic, which most people call "being put to sleep." Rarely, a spinal or epidural is used. This procedure numbs the legs and does not require the patient being put to sleep. The choice is between the patient, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologists.

    Will the surgery be painful?
    There will be discomfort following the surgery, but we try to keep each patient as comfortable as possible with the appropriate medication or alternative therapy such as soothing music from our harpist or ice therapy.

    How long and where will the scar be?
    There are a number of different techniques used for hip replacement surgery. The type of technique will determine the exact location and length of the scar. The traditional approach is to make an incision lengthwise over the side of the hip. There may be some numbness around the scar after it is healed. This is perfectly normal and should not cause any concern. The numbness usually disappears with time.

    What types of walking aids are used?
    Patients progress at their own rate. Normally we recommend that using a walker, crutches, or a cane from four to six weeks.

    Is physical therapy necessary after discharge from the hospital?
    Yes, either outpatient or in-home physical therapy will be necessary. Patients are encouraged to utilize outpatient physical therapy. St. Mary-Corwin will help patients arrange an outpatient physical therapy appointment. If home physical therapy is needed, we will arrange for a physical therapist to provide in-home therapy.

    Do new hips set off security sensors when traveling?
    The joint replacement is made of a metal alloy and may or may not be detected when going through some security devices. Patients should carry a medical alert card indicating the existence of an artificial joint.

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    For more information about our Joint Replacement Center please call 719-557-5622.

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