Hip replacement is an operative procedure that involves replacing your damaged hip joint with an artificial joint (known as prosthesis) often made from metal alloy or plastic. Like a healthy hip joint, your new artificial joint has a weight bearing smooth surface that allows for easy and painless hip movements.
Generally speaking, hip replacement is a safe and effective operation, but, as with any surgery, there are some potential risks and complications.
Following are some possible risks of complications that you should be aware of prior to pursuing hip joint replacement surgery.
Blood clot, medically known as thromboembolic disease, is the most common concern following the surgery. Since you will not be able to move around for some days after the surgery, blood clot may form in a vein in your lower leg. Blood clot is a particular concern because it is possible that it breaks off and travels to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism (blockage in the arteries).
Infection at the site of the surgery is one of the most feared complications. Infection in the deeper tissue around the artificial hip joint is also possible. If not treated in time, these infections can be life threatening.
In order to lower the risk of infection, the surgery should be performed in hygienically impeccable and infection-free operating room, and patients should administered with antibiotics before, during and after the operation.
Bleeding, injury to nearby nerves, vessels and bones and adverse reaction to anesthesia are other possible but unlikely non-hip joint related complications.
Your new prosthesis may become dislocated. In around 1 in 20 cases, the replaced femoral head can dislodged from the socket. If the condition occurs, you will require revision surgery to repair or replace the prosthesis.
Although rare, but your new hip joint may not become properly fixed to your bone and become loose over time. The loosening of implant can be fixed only by a revision surgery.
Wear and Tear
Artificial hip joint is made of artificial materials and may wear out over time. The metal ball moves back and forth against a plastic socket, this will result in wear of the socket.
Although rare, but the healthy portion of your hip joint or femur can crack after hip replacement surgery. Incorrect position of the implant and breakage of prosthetic can lead to mild or severe fracture. If the fracture occurs, a revision surgery will be needed.
Leg Length Differences
Leg length inequality is another common complication after hip replacement. After the surgery, it is possible that one leg become longer or shorter than the other. For the significant inequality in leg length, a corrective operation will be needed.