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Hip Replacement

Osteoarthritis of the hip joint is very commonly seen in our community and often leads to severe pain, stiffness and disability. Total hip replacement has revolutionised the treatment of this condition and results in excellent relief of pain and restoration of mobility in a very high percentage of cases.

The procedure involves removal of the worn out femoral head and replacing it with a stemmed femoral prosthesis and replacing the worn out socket (acetabulum) with an acetabular shell and liner.

The decision about having hip replacement is yours but Mr Ma will discuss the pros and cons of surgery to help you make that informed decision. Please do not hesitate to discuss any of your concerns about having surgery. Sometimes it is wise to make another appointment if you have further questions that arise out of the initial consultation. Whilst over 95% of patients are extremely happy with the outcome after joint replacement surgery, there is a small percentage of patients where the outcome is below the patients expectations, particularly if there has been complications.

The procedure is usually done under a spinal anaesthetic, although you will be sedated during the operation and many patients have minimal recollection of the procedure itself. The operation takes approximately 1 hour and is done through a small incision of less than 10cm. Local anaesthetic is introduced into the wound at the end of the procedure.

Postoperatively below-knee stockings will be fitted, as well as foot pumps applied to the foot. This improves the blood flow through the leg, and both of these measures as well as Aspirin, reduce the risk of blood clots.

Most patients are surprised by how little pain they have after the operation, although some wound discomfort is to be expected. In addition, there will be some swelling in the thigh, which may last several weeks. Walking aids such as crutches or a frame will be used initially, but I encourage mypatients to discard their walking aids once they are able to walk comfortably without a significant limp.

The length of the stay varies according to your postoperative progress, and length of stay varies considerably from one patient to the next, with some patients being able to go home on the third postoperative day, whereas older patients that live on their own may well need to go to a rehabilitation hospital prior to going home.

Patients are reviewed in my consulting rooms at 6 weeks postoperatively and it is usual for most patients to be walking very well at that stage with minimal to no limp. Return to full activities can be expected somewhere around 2 to 3 months postoperatively.

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