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Hip Replacement Complications

Hip Replacement Complications

Though hip replacement complications during and after the surgery are rare, it is still necessary that a patient is aware about its possible dangers. This article provides some information about the same.
Kundan Pandey
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Hip replacement surgery has been advocated by many health experts for people who have least chances of treatment in cases of chronic complications like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and other diseases of the bones. The trauma faced by the patients of these diseases is often inexplicable, and when medications are not the answer, doctors prefer surgeries. Nearly 200,000 people undergo such surgeries every year in the US, with a success rate of 90%. These surgeries have rarely been linked to severe side effects. However, an individual going for this surgery must know the potential risks associated with it. They are as follows:
Osteoarthritis and Restricted Movements
The complications associated with replacement of hips are caused by minute errors which can severely affect the patient's health. For instance, during the surgery, accidentally the sciatic nerve may get cut as it is close to the hip joint. This can lead to temporary or permanent numbness in the muscle power of the patient. Many patients have reported to have experienced a numbness in the muscles of the area around the hip joint. The risk of damaging blood vessels of the hip area also increases during the surgery. For patients, especially of the older-age group affected by osteoarthritis, there are chances of fracture in the femoral shaft. This may impose certain restrictions on the movement of the person even after the surgery is completed. The discrepancies in the leg length is also one of the vital complications that may arise post surgery. The variation in the length of the legs (even by few cm) can be due to improper establishment of the hip capsule. This would require adjusting the height of the person by raising the level of one of the shoes. All these complications may take several months for rehabilitation.
Infection Issues
After the surgery, infection is one of the most dangerous risk. It may affect the leg and calves area, and may spread to other parts of the body. If there is an infection after the surgery, the hip is removed, and the infection is cleared properly by surgical means. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes are at larger risk of developing this complication. Bacterial infection may occur even after many years of the surgery as the bacteria can travel through the blood stream to the treated hip joint. Blood clots are another risks associated to this surgery. A blood clot will result in redness in the area around the legs, and this can cause pain and swelling in the leg. The first six months after the hip replacement are crucial, and muscle tension or strain in the hip area can dislodge the metal ball in the socket and spoil the whole effort. To protect oneself from this complication, one must exercise precautions and follow the directions of the physicians with respect to body movements.
Post Surgery Problems
A catheter is usually inserted during the surgery, and it is removed after the doctor feels it is the right time to do so. If the catheter is left for a long time, it can lead to urinary infections. After the first few weeks of surgery, constipation and hard stools can cause some problem to the patient. Problems in the bowel movements can be due to less consumption of fluid and the effect of medications prescribed during the treatment period. Excessive bleeding or bleeding after some days of surgery can lead to weakening of the hip area or pulmonary infections. One of the common side effects that can occur after resting in one position for a long time is the formation of pressure sores under the calves and heels. One can eliminate this by frequently keeping the legs at an elevated position using a pillow.
During the recovery time one should take necessary precautions so that the recurrence of complications can be avoided. Hip replacement surgeries are rarely harmful, and even if there are some complications, the doctors try and eliminate them at the earliest. For a proper and quick recovery, all a patient needs is complete trust in his surgeon along with a positive attitude.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.