ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than 300,000 people in the U.S. will have hip replacement surgery this year, followed by weeks of recovery. But experts say there are some things you can do to speed up the recovery afterwards.
Everything you do before surgery can make a difference when it comes to recovery. Even what you eat.
Steven Barnett, MD, of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute said you should have “A balanced diet. It is not the time to be on a strict diet, trying to lose weight before one of these surgeries because we rely on the patients overall medical status to heal.”
But since being overweight will add unnecessary stress to the new hip and increase risk of complication, your doctor may recommend losing a few pounds in the months before surgery. Also, even though it is your lower body that is getting the new joint, you will need some upper body strength to help with crutches or a walker after surgery.
Dr. Barnett said there are “Stretching and strengthening exercises for lower extremities that patients can do leading up to surgery, which will help expedite their recovery.”
Some other things to do before surgery: quit smoking at least two weeks before surgery. Smoking affects blood circulation, which delays healing. Also don’t drink alcohol at least 48 hours before surgery. Not only can it weaken the immune system and slow recovery, but it can also increase the risk of complications and bleeding after surgery. Finally, talk to your doctor about getting off any medication like blood thinners and how far in advance of surgery is safe to do so.
Dr. Barnett also stresses that surgery should always be the last resort. So before going under the knife, talk to your doctor to make sure all other non-surgical options have been exhausted.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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HIP REPLACEMENT DOS AND DONT’S
BACKGROUND: Hip replacement is a procedure in which the surgeon removes damaged or diseased parts of the patient’s hip joint and replaces them with new artificial parts. The operation itself is called hip arthroplasty. The artificial joint itself is called a prosthesis. Hip prostheses may be made of metal, ceramic, plastic, or various combinations of these materials. Hip arthroplasty has two primary purposes: pain relief and improved functioning of the hip joint. Between 200,000 and 300,000 hip replacement operations are performed in the United States each year, most of them in patients over the age of 60. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), only 5 to10 percent of total hip replacements as of 2002 were in patients younger than 50. Arthritis and other degenerative joint disorders are the most common health problems requiring hip replacement, and they become more severe as people grow older. There is also limited life expectancy of the prostheses used in hip replacements.
CAUSES AND RISKS OF HIP REPLACEMENT: Conditions that can damage the hip joint, sometimes necessitating hip replacement surgery include osteoarthritis, which is commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis. Another condition is rheumatoid arthritis which is caused by an overactive immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis produces a type of inflammation that can erode cartilage and occasionally underlying bone, resulting in damaged and deformed joints. Another condition is called osteonecrosis. If there is inadequate blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint, the bone may collapse and deform. Risks associated with hip replacement surgery may include blood clots, infection, and fracture. Clots may form in your leg veins after surgery. This can be dangerous because a piece of a clot can break off and travel to your lung, heart or rarely your brain. Infections can occur at the site of your incision and in the deeper tissue near your new hip. During surgery, healthy portions of your hip joint may fracture. Sometimes the fractures are so small that they heal on their own, but larger fractures may need to be corrected with wires, pins, and possibly a metal plate or bone grafts.
ADVANCES IN HIP REPLACEMENTS: While it’s not uncommon for older people to get total hip replacements, doctors now often go with hip resurfacing implants for younger patients who have conditions such as osteoarthritis. The devices can cause problems and can’t be used on women. However, a new type of implant may change that, as it’s made out of ceramic instead of the traditional metal. Developed at Imperial College London, the experimental H1 hip resurfacing implant is designed to get around these shortcomings. It’s made out of a strong, low wearing and non-toxic ceramic that shouldn’t cause problems in the surrounding tissue, plus it fits the contours of both male and female hips. In a recent trial, 15 test subjects of both sexes (aged 18 to 70) received H1 implants. The early results were promising. The patients were able to return to physical activities such as swimming, cycling and walking within six weeks of their operation, and after three months were able to return to activities they couldn’t do before, such as dancing, yoga and gym work. The next phase of the trial will be carried out at hospitals across the UK and Europe.
* For More Information, Contact:
James Chisum, Health Care Public & Media Relations Specialist