Hip joint replacement surgery

The most common reason for hip arthroplasty is hip osteoarthritis. A conclusive cause of hip osteoarthritisnoften cannot be found, but a hereditary predisposition and structural abnormalities of the hip increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Hip joint injuries and inflammations may also damage the joint and cause early-onset osteoarthritis. Rheumatism and other inflammatory joint diseases, as well as bone necrosis of the femoral head, can result in joint destruction and the need for joint replacement surgery.

Surgery is usually considered at the stage when joint pain and stiffness begin to interfere with daily life and night time sleep and when physical therapies and pain relief medications do not help.

Symptoms of hip osteoarthritis

  • The most common symptom is pain. The pain can be felt in the groin and buttock area, it may radiate to the anterior surface of the thigh and even to the knee area.
  • The pain is first felt upon movement, and it later worsens to continuous load-induced pain. As osteoarthritis progresses, it causes rest pain, which often interferes with nighttime sleep.
  • Another significant symptom is joint stiffness of the hip and rotation difficulties, which can be noticed, for example, when putting on socks or cutting toenails. This first becomes manifest as a limitation of internal rotation.
  • Later on, in addition to rotational stiffness, abduction and extension also become difficult.
  • The hip becomes crooked, walking becomes slower and the posture becomes stooped and lame.

When is it time to see a doctor and undergo joint replacement surgery

Make an appointment with an orthopedist if your hip problemes interferes with your normal life, work or nighttime sleep. An orthopedist will examine you and take x-ray images of your hip. The x-ray images show if your hip has osteoarthritis and how far it has progressed. Often, the situation is initially monitored and we refer you to a qualified physiotherapist to begin muscle fitness and mobility exercises.

If necessary, pain-relieving medication treatment is also started. Understanding the cause of the pain and how to move with hip pain often makes the patient feel relieved. With the help of appropriate exercise and pain medication, you can lead an active life with a worn hip.

An orthopedist is able to assess joint damage progression and when joint replacement surgery might be relevant.

Orton is a reliable hospital specialized in joint replacement surgeries

Finland’s first total hip joint replacement surgery was performed at Orton in 1967. Today we are Finland’s leading private clinic providing joint replacement surgeries. Our excellent treatment results indicate high quality health care. The number of prosthetic joint infections is significantly lower than the national average, as is the need for reoperation. Learn more about Orton’s treatment results.

Quick access to examinations and treatment

Joint replacement surgery can be arranged quickly. An appointment with a joint replacements specialist and examinations can be arranged in about a week. Surgery can be booked at a time that suits you best and, in most cases, it can be performed in a few weeks.

Care pathway for hip replacement

You will have an appointment with a nurse and a physiotherapist well in advance of the planned surgery and receive instructions on e.g. treatment of underlying diseases, muscle fitness training and aids.

You will get Orton’s Hip Arthoplasty Guide which provides detailed information on how to prepare for surgery and other things related to surgery.

A patient usually spends 1 to 3 days in the hospital after joint replacement surgery. The surgery is normally carried out under spinal anaesthesia, during which you will be awake or, if you so prefer, in a light sleep.

In the surgery, damaged joint surface is replaced with a prosthetic joint. The operation takes 1-1.5 hours. The skin wound is closed with surgical staples.

After the surgery, you will be taken to an observation unit where the wearing off of the anaesthesia and your condition is monitored before you are taken to the in-patient ward.

Already on the same day after the surgery, you will be assisted to stand up and light movement and muscle exercises will be started under the guidance of a physiotherapist. Walking exercises with the help of forearm crutches will be carried out, depending on your health condition. You may put weight on the operated lower limb as pain permits. Your own activity in practicing hip mobility and muscle strength exercises is very important for a good outcome of the surgery.

Discharge from hospital is based on the individual. The following criteria must be met in order to for you to be discharged: you need to be able to move independently with forearm crutches, to independently carry out daily routines such as dressing and undressing and to be able to attend to your hygiene needs. The pain needs also to be under control. The wound is examined prior to discharge from the hospital. You need somebody to escort you home.

You can travel home in a  car but it is not recommended to sit for long periods of time. Deep hip flexion and internal rotation should be avoided as you get in or out of the car. A physiotherapist advises on these matters.

At home, it is important to follow the wound care instructions as well as the muscle and mobility exercise instructions provided. You may stop using the crutches when you can move around safely, usually after 1-3 weeks. The staples used for closing the wound will be removed after two weeks from the surgery.

The first post-operative check-up appointment with a doctor normally takes place around 6-8 weeks after the surgery. During the appointment, you will be instructed on how to perform rehabilitation exercises, the phase of tissue healing will be checked. In addition, the position and attachement of prosthesis will be checked with the help of X-ray images. In general, the annual control can be conducted by questionnaire. Thereafter, X-ray imaging and follow-up appointments every 5 years are recommended.

If you feel uncertain when moving around, or rehabilitation does not seem to be progressing, we recommend you to book a follow-up appointment with a physiotherapist either in the hospital or as a home visit. Many of our joint replacements patients regularly visit a physiotherapist for advice and support for further rehabilitation exercises.