The hip is one of the largest – and most important – joints in the body. The ball-and-socket joint allows you to do fun activities like exercising and dancing, and is also critical to simple movements, like walking and putting on socks. However, for those experiencing hip pain and inflammation, even those simple tasks can be excruciating.

For patients who experience chronic hip pain and inflammation, relief can come as a total hip replacement. The procedure, which is performed regularly at Fresno Surgical Hospital, removes damaged cartilage and bone, and replaces the worn joint with a synthetic joint made of metal, medical-grade plastic or ceramic components.

Hip pain can come from several causes. From age-related arthritis to hip issues that started during childhood, the joint’s health can decline rapidly or over time, depending on the specific cause. Arthritis is the most common cause, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons cites the following as the types that cause hip discomfort:

  • Osteoarthritis: An age-related arthritis that is most common in patients over 50
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An inflammatory arthritis that damages hip cartilage
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: Arthritis that follows a serious hip injury
  • Avascular Necrosis: Hip injuries that limit blood supply to the femoral head, or the “ball” portion of the ball-and-socket hip joint, causes this type of arthritis

For patients in the Central Valley who are suffering from chronic hip pain and inflammation due to the above-listed ailments, orthopaedic surgeons at Fresno Surgical Hospital recommend undergoing an evaluation to determine if a hip replacement is the right choice.

The evaluation will include a conversation to gather general information about a patient’s medical history, a physical examination to assess the current state of the hip and current range of movement, hip x-rays, blood tests and depending on the specific need, additional imaging testing including MRIs. Surgeons consider pain levels and disability when making a recommendation on whether or not to move forward with hip replacement surgery.

There are several methods to complete a hip replacement, including incisions through the back of the hips, the side of the hip, or through the front of the leg, known as the anterior approach.

The anterior approach makes it possible for surgeons to complete the hip replacement without cutting through muscles, allowing for a shorter recovery period. Surgeons are also able to more easily measure the leg length and implant position with this particular method, ensuring more precise placement of the implant. In addition to shorter healing and recovery time, the anterior approach also has a smaller chance for hip implant dislocation. Patients who undergo hip replacement surgery with the anterior method lay flat on their backs during the procedure, allowing surgeons to utilize x-ray technology that provides another level of access and precision when placing the hip implant.

Surgeons remove the damaged cartilage and bone, and position the new implants to re-align the hip and restore range of motion. The implant itself consists of the ball component and the socket component. The ball is made of durable metal, plastic or ceramic, and the socket is shaped like a cup with a durable outer shell. Implants are either cemented to the bones or fixated using the “press-fit” method, which allows the existing bone to grow into the porous material of the implant. Surgeons consider the durability of the existing bone and other factors when deciding which placement method to employ.

“The anterior hip replacement method allows surgeons at Fresno Surgical Hospital to complete the surgery in the most precise manner possible, meaning long-term positive results for our patients,” says Dr. Matt Simons with Fresno Surgical Hospital. “We pride ourselves on offering the highest quality care in the Central Valley, and our goal is to elevate our patients’ quality of life through the services we offer.”

Hip replacement surgery is significant; surgeons must utilize regional or general anesthesia during the surgery. In addition to anesthesia, surgeons also administer antibiotics and anticoagulant drugs. This standard procedure fights infection and helps avoid post-surgical complications.

After the surgery, patients should expect a healing time of up to six weeks. Patients who receive anterior hip replacements should expect to undergo significant physical therapy to ensure the new hip functions correctly.

Fresno Surgical Hospital, an award-winning physician-owned hospital, is the only local hospital to earn a Five-Star Rating for patient satisfaction as reported on Medicare.gov’s Hospital Compare site. Learn more about orthopedic surgical procedures at www.FresnoSurgicalHospital.com.