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Arthritis and Hip Replacement Surgery

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Is Hip Replacement Surgery Safe?

Hip replacements surgery has been performed for years and surgical techniques are being improved all the time. As with any surgery, however, there are risks. Since you will not be able to move around much at first, blood clots are a particular concern. Your doctor will give you blood thinners to help prevent blood clots from occurring. Infection and bleeding are also possible, as are risks associated with using general anesthesia.

Other less common concerns that you and your doctor must watch out for are:

  • Your legs may not be of equal length after the surgery.
  • You must be careful not to cross your legs or not to sit too low because the joint may be dislocated.
  • Pieces of fat in the bone marrow may become loose, enter the bloodstream and get into the lungs, which can cause very serious breathing problems.
  • Nerves in the hip area may be injured from swelling or pressure and can cause some numbness.
  • The replacement parts may become loose, break, or become infected. 

Talk to your surgeon about these risks before undergoing the procedure.

How Long Will My New Joint Last After Hip Replacement Surgery?

When hip replacement surgeries were first performed in the early 1970s, it was thought that the average artificial joint would last approximately 10 years. We now know that about 85% of the hip joint implants will last 20 years. Improvements in surgical technique and artificial joint materials should make these implants last even longer. If the joint does become damaged, surgery to repair it can be successful but is more complicated than the original procedure.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on May 24, 2014
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