Partial Hip Replacement Overview & Benefits

Partial hip replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces haft of the hip joint, specifically the ball of the femur (also called the femoral head) with a prosthetic or artificial joint. The procedure, which is also known as hip hemiarthroplasty, is totally different from total hip replacement surgery, which replaces both with the socket and femoral head.

Partial Hip Replacement Overview & Benefits

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

Partial hip replacement surgery is performed on patients who suffer from difficulties affecting the ball of the hip joint. These problems, which can either be caused by certain traumatic injuries or medical conditions, include:

  • Arthritis of the hip, which can result in bone spurs and other irregularities of bone
  • Bone degeneration
  • Fracture

When left untreated, the above conditions can cause restricted movement and persistent pain in the joint.

A partial hip replacement surgery using orthopedic tools is more commonly used to treat traumatic hip injury and is usually prescribed to elderly patients whose bones are more brittle and prone to fractures even with mild slips and falls. In the meantime, degenerative conditions typically need a total hip replacement since both the socket and ball have to be replaced in such cases.

A partial hip replacement is recommended based on the severity or type of the hip fracture.

  • Type 1– A fracture where the bones are stable but are pressed together
  • Type 2– A complete fracture but the bones aren’t displaced and remain aligned
  • Type 3– A fracture wherein the two fragments of broken bone are displaced but remain in contact with one another
  • Type 4– A fracture wherein two bone fragments are totally displaced and are not in contact

Grades 1 to 3 fractures often do not interfere with the joint and are usually treated using nailing devices called pins. Grade 4 fractures, however, usually require surgery as they usually disrupt the blood supply to the femoral head. In such cases, a partial hip replacement procedure is highly recommended which is done using the orthopedic implant and instruments provided by the trauma implant manufacturer.

Following the procedure, patients can expect total relief from pain. They will also be able to carry out a normal leg and hip movements as well as resume normal activities.  

How is the Procedure Performed?

A partial hip replacement, which takes between 60 and 90 minutes, purposes to remove the broken femoral head, trim the fractured end of the joint, and insert a one-piece prosthetic joint.

After making an incision in front of the hip or along the side, the surgeon moves the tendons and muscles away from the joint to access the femoral head and the hip socket.

The surgeon then uses special orthopedic instruments to remove the neck and head of the femur before preparing the femoral stem for artificial ball placement. The ball is then put in place and the hip joint reconnected. The surrounding tissues, such as the tendons and muscles, are returned to their normal places and the incision is sutured closed.

This procedure is performed under general or regional anesthesia with patients often placed on IV pain medications after surgery. They are also given other medications to prevent infection immediately after the procedure. A cushion is placed between their legs to keep the hip in the correct position and a urinary catheter is used so they can empty their bladder without having to get up or move. Compression stockings are also used to lower the risk of developing blood clots in their legs.

The total recovery time of partial hip replacement depends on how well the patient follows the surgeon’s post-operative care instructions. There are many partial hip replacement precautions to consider following the procedure, such as proper wound care, proper hip movements and a healthy diet. Patients should undergo partial hip replacement rehab to restore proper hip replacement and strengthen their legs to reduce their risk of future injuries.

Physical rehabilitation will also involve teaching the patient how to safely stand up, sit down, get dressed, bath, walk up the stairs, and use the toilet. They may need walking aids such as a walker or crutches for the first few weeks following surgery.

Partial hip replacement surgery recovery may take 3 to 6 weeks, after which patients can resume their normal activities. However, recovery from partial hip replacement in elderly may take as long as six months.

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