Total Hip Replacement (THR) is a very successful, life changing operation for most people who suffer from diseases of the hip joint that result in loss of function, pain and stiffness .
Access to the hip joint to perform the surgical reconstruction is available through a number of procedures using various anatomical approaches.
The Posterior Approach to the hip has been the most commonly used surgical technique for hip replacements worldwide for the past 20 years.
During the surgery the patient lies on their opposite side.
The surgery itself involves a skin cut on the outside (or lateral) part of the hip joint. The gluteus maximus muscle is split and the short rotator muscles of the hip are cut (and later repaired) to gain access to the hip joint.
Advantages of this technique include:
- It provides an excellent exposure of the hip joint, pelvis and femur
- It results in an unobtrusive scar
- There is no restriction on the type of implant that can be used. Should it be necessary it provides most options for revision surgery
The potential disadvantage of this approach is an increased risk of dislocation (ie the ball falling out of the socket). This possibility arises if patients do not follow the postoperative instructions. This risk decreases as the period post – surgery increases.
Patients are generally:
- up standing and walking the day following surgery and
- discharged home between day 3-6 after surgery.
- using some form of walking aid for the first 4 weeks following surgery.
Driving is generally not allowed for 4 weeks following a posterior hip replacement.
Other risks that are possible with all joint replacement surgery include infection, nerve injury and blood clots. Thankfully these do not occur often and our surgeons will make you aware of all possible contingencies. .