Prosthesis of osteoarthritis of the hip


The hip consists of the upper part of the thigh bone (head of the femur) and the basin cavity (acetabulum) in which it slides. At this joint, a soft coating (the cartilage) covers the areas of bone in contact and allows their sliding. However, the latter is used extensively (osteoarthritis). The bone is found gradually uncovered and deformed, resulting in friction during movement. The joint becomes more and more stiff and painful. The situation can get worse to the point of preventing you from walking, or causing problems with other joints.

That’s why your surgeon offers you an operation (hip arthroplasty). This involves removing part or all of the joint and replacing it with artificial material of the same shape (prosthesis). Either you sleep completely (general anesthesia), or you only put down the lower part of your body (perimedullary anesthesia).

 

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The surgeon cuts the head of the femur, then digs into the bone to insert the stem of the prosthesis, which it fixes with or without cement. The operation stops there if we only replace the head of the femur (cephalic prosthesis). If it is also necessary to replace the acetabulum (total prosthesis), the surgeon removes the cartilage and prepares the bone so as to place a kind of hollow bowl (cup) in which slides the head of the prosthesis.

This operation usually lasts one to three hours. You stay in hospital for ten days. If the pain is important at the very beginning, there are treatments to relieve you. It is normal to feel pain the first time you get up and start walking again. But the pain associated with osteoarthritis has disappeared. To limit the risk of infection, check that you have no disease before, during and after the operation. Treatment reduces the risk of blood clots forming in the veins of the legs (phlebitis). Sometimes both legs are not the same length after the operation, which makes it limp slightly. Several weeks of rehabilitation are often necessary. It is better to live a calm life for two to three months, gradually resuming your activities. The result of the operation is often spectacular. Some forget that they wear a prosthesis. However, avoid violent sports and forced labor.

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