Hip and Knee Surgery
Last updated date: 28-Oct-2023
Originally Written in English
Hip and Knee Surgery
Both the hip and the knee are the major joints in the body. They provide significant support to the body weight. Furthermore, they closely work in conjunction to ensure that one can perform activities such as running, lifting something, squatting, and playing.
With time, most people tend to experience minor to chronic pain in the knee or hip. Treatment options such as taking pain-relieving drugs, minor operations, physical therapy, or a combination of these can help ease the pain. However, certain hip and knee conditions are highly intractable; hence hip and knee surgery might be the best alternative. A surgical procedure provides a good chance to restore normal pain-free movement.
What is Hip and Knee Surgery?
Hip and knee surgery refers to a surgical procedure to remove or replace a damaged or injured hip or knee joint. It aims at relieving pain, improving functionality, as well as restoring normal movement balance.
The joint is the part of the body in which two or more bones connect to facilitate movement. The bone surfaces are normally covered with cartilage to create a natural smooth gliding joint.
Due to prolonged use of the knee or hip joint, the cartilage can gradually deteriorate or break down. This result in bone-on-bone friction associated with pain and inflammation. Some of the common joint disorders that require hip or knee surgery include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
In addition, there are other triggers of joint pain and inflammation that can also require a surgical procedure to address. They include trauma, genetic conditions, and developmental disorders. However, medical providers only recommend the operation if other conservative treatments such as physical therapy, injections, and medications are ineffective.
Reasons for Hip and Knee Surgery
Hip and knee surgery is an effective treatment option for disability and pain in the knee and hip. Osteoarthritis is the most common disease that requires a surgical procedure to address. It is associated with the breakdown of the joint cartilage.
An injury or damage of the bones and cartilage restricts mobility and can result in discomfort. Due to chronic pain, individuals with the extreme degenerative joint condition might not do daily tasks that include bending of the knee, including walking or ascending stairs. Since the joint is unstable, the hip or knee can swell or give-way.
Other types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis caused by a hip or knee injury, can also cause associated joint degeneration. Furthermore, torn cartilage, torn ligaments, and fractures can result in permanent knee or hip joint damage.
What Does Hip and Knee Surgery Involve?
Surgeons perform the treatment procedure under a combination of spinal anesthesia and a nerve block. This eliminates the necessity for general anesthesia or intubation during the operation. It can also prevent most of the side effects associated with general anesthesia, including post-operative nausea. Furthermore, this facilitates improved pain management and a faster recovery.
Hip surgery involves the removal of the damaged or injured ball in the hip ball as well as the socket joint. The surgeon will then replace it using a ceramic or metal ball that connects to a stem that suits the femur. After that, the prosthesis is covered with a certain special content that allows the bone to grow into it with time. However, in other cases, the prosthesis is attached to the bone.
The surgeon will also replace the socket joint and the ball socket with a metallic cup inserted into the pelvis. After that, he or she snaps the rubber liner onto the metal cup and spins with the new ball at the tip of the femoral stem. The implants and prostheses are available in a range of structures and sizes customized to the user.
With knee surgery, the surgeon will remove a thin piece of bone along the joint surface from the end of the thigh bone or femur, the top part of the tibia (leg bone), and the bottom of the kneecap. The bone surfaces are then molded and sized with instruments to enable the suitable implant to fit every individual knee.
The main knee tendons and ligaments are usually held in place. This is to ensure stabilization and regular movement of the knee joint. As with hip surgery, knee surgery can be attached into place or wrapped in a special substance into which bone can develop.
What happens Before Hip and Knee Surgery?
Before undergoing hip and knee surgery, the surgeon will first schedule an appointment to discuss the procedure further. This also gives you a chance to ask any crucial questions you have regarding the surgical operation. You will be required to sign or fill a consent form granting permission to operate. In case something is unclear, go through the document carefully while asking questions.
Apart from completing a medical history, the doctor can also conduct a thorough physical exam. This is to make sure that you are in the best shape possible before proceeding with the procedure. If necessary, you may be subjected to blood tests and other diagnostic procedures.
Always ensure that you notify the doctor in case you are allergic or sensitive to any medications. This can as well include anesthetic agents such as local and general anesthesia, latex, and tape. Also, inform the physician about your drugs, including over-the-counter and prescribed medication and herbal supplements you are currently using.
Lastly, be sure to tell the physicians if you have a previous history of bleeding problems. This also includes if you are using any blood thinners (anticoagulant medication), aspirin, and other forms of blood-thinning drugs. You may need to stop taking these medications before the procedure to prevent complications during or after surgery.
What to Expect After Hip and Knee Surgery
Hip and knee procedure are the two most popular orthopedic surgical procedures. This form of treatment is very effective in correcting deformity, relieving pain, and restoring mobility. Eventually, it allows the patient to regain their quality of life and return to their usual daily activities.
Hip and knee surgery typically takes one to two hours and is conducted in an outpatient setting. It also involves a one-to two-day hospital stay. After the surgery, the patient will be taken to the recovery room, where he or she will be monitored. This usually takes a short period, after which the condition will stabilize. Therefore, they can start to walk on that same day of the operation.
Most of the patients are normally discharged from the hospital with recommendations for additional therapy. The patient can resume work or other daily activities after one to three months. This will, however, depend on the overall wellbeing and recovery progress.
Risks of Hip and Knee Surgery
Some of the potential risks and complications associated with hip and knee surgery can include;
Blood clots formation: Blood clots may occur in the leg veins following the procedure. This is risky since a clot fragment might break off and move towards the heart, lung. In rare cases, it can travel to the brain. To minimize this risk, the doctor can recommend taking blood-thinning drugs.
Damage of the nerves: Nerves in the region where the implant is mounted can be damaged or injured. Numbness, pain, and weakness may result from such nerve damage.
Dislocation: Particular angles, especially during the first few weeks of surgery, might cause the new joint ball to come out of its socket. If the knee or hip dislocates, the doctor will recommend that you wear a brace to support the hip in the proper place. However, if it continues to dislocate, surgery is often necessary to stabilize it.
Fracture: The healthy parts of the hip or knee can fracture during surgery. Small fractures may recover on their own with time. However, more extensive fractures may require stabilization with screws, wires, and perhaps bone grafts or a metal plate.
Infection: At times, infections can develop at the incision site and in the deep tissue around the new knee or hip. Such disorders are mostly treatable with antibiotics. However, a serious infection near the prosthesis can necessitate surgery to extract and repair it.
Leg length changes: During surgery, surgeons often take precautions to prevent the issue. However, a new hip or knee occasionally causes one leg to be shorter or longer compared to the other. This can be a result of muscle contracture around the area. Gradually stretching and strengthening the muscles can help. Hence, slight variations in the length of the leg are unlikely to be seen for a few months.
Loosening: Whereas this issue is uncommon for new implants, the new joint won’t be solidly attached to the bone. It may also become loose with time, triggering hip discomfort. Surgery may be necessary to resolve the issue.
Medical providers often recommend hip and knee surgery to ease pain and restore normal mobility. Typically, it involves removing a section of the joint and replacing it with plastic, ceramic, or metal devices. These devices are known as the implant or prosthesis. They are specially designed to replicate the structure and the movement of the joint.
CloudHospital focuses on treating and managing hip and knee damages or injuries through hip and knee surgery. It comprises a team of orthopedists, surgeons, and other specialists who work together to operate efficiently. Based on the extent of the damage, they can also conduct partial or total hip and knee replacement surgery.