Total Hip Replacement in Seattle, WA
Formed by the ball of the thighbone and the socket of the pelvis, the ball-and-socket hip joint is one of the largest joints in the body. To provide support and flexibility, ligaments connect the components of the hip joint together. Both the ball and socket are covered with cartilage, a smooth tissue that acts a cushion and protects the bones during movement.
Causes of Hip Pain
Arthritis is the most common causes of hip pain, and the most frequently treated forms of hip arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint disease that causes the cartilage that cushions the joints to decrease, exposing the bones to increased friction and potential surface damage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that typically affects the corresponding joints on both sides of the body, such as the left and right hip joints. Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation in the affected hip joints, which can result in a decrease in the protective cartilage necessary for smooth joint movement.
Symptoms and Non-Surgical Treatment of Hip Arthritis
Patients suffering from arthritis of the hip will experience one or more of the following symptoms: a constant dull aching pain, decreased range of motion and flexibility, or weakening of the affected hip joints.
During the early stages of arthritis, the majority of patients are able to manage pain symptoms and slow the progression of the disease with a combination of the following treatments:
- Pain medications
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Strengthening exercises
Total Hip Replacement
For patients unable to relieve pain symptoms using conservative treatments or suffer from advanced arthritis of the hip, surgical treatment may be necessary. To determine the best surgical approach for relieving pain symptoms and returning joint function, Dr. Pritchett will complete an in-depth evaluation of the location and severity of joint damage. Patients suffering from severe arthritis of the hip, who continue to suffer from increasing pain symptoms even with the use of conservative treatments, or who have a decreasing range of motion and flexibility will often receive the most benefit from total hip replacement surgery. Based on the patient’s test results, Dr. Pritchett may recommend other surgical approaches, such as hip resurfacing or the anterior approach to hip replacement.
During total hip replacement surgery, Dr. Pritchett will often use the newest techniques, such as computer-assisted surgery, to remove the damaged bone and cartilage on both the ball and socket of the hip joint. To restore the pain-free movement of the hip joint, the damaged areas are then replaced with a metal, ceramic and plastic prosthesis. The prosthetic implant is designed to recreate the natural movement of the hip joint. By using minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr. Pritchett can typically decrease amount of disruption caused to the surrounding tissue during surgery, as well as create a more natural placement of the prosthesis.
Hip replacement surgery is performed as an in-patient procedure, requiring a hospital stay of 1 or 2 days, in order to decrease the risk of post-operative damage. Immediately following surgery, patients will meet with a physical therapist to learn how to use their new joint by practicing basic strengthening and walking exercises. Upon returning home, patients will typically use a walker or crutches just for safety and balance, as they will be able to walk with full weight on their leg. By following a custom exercise regimen determined by the physical therapist and Dr. Pritchett, patients are typically able to return to their favorite recreational activities just weeks post surgery. Patients can drive and work typically after 2 weeks.
Total Hip Replacement in Seattle, WA
Dedicated to using the most advanced techniques, James W. Pritchett, MD is one of Seattle’s leading orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Pritchett specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of severe hip pain, including hip replacement. To learn more Dr. Pritchett’s joint replacement specialties, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pritchett at his Seattle office at (206) 323-1900.
Last Modified: July 30, 2014