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According to the American Academy of Ortho paedic Surgeons in Rosemont, IL, approximately 120,000 hip replacement operations are performed each year, and less than 10% require further surgery. New technology and advances in surgical techniques have greatly reduced the risks involved with hip replacements. The most common problem that may happen soon after hip replacement surgery is hip dislocation. Because the artificial ball and socket are smaller than the normal ones, the ball can become dislodged from the socket if the hip is placed in certain positions. The most dangerous position usually is pulling the knees up to the chest.
The most common later complication of hip replacement surgery is an inflammatory reaction to tiny particles that gradually wear off of the artificial joint surfaces and are absorbed by the surrounding tissues. The inflammation may trigger the action of special cells that eat away some of the bone, causing the implant to loosen. To treat this complication, the doctor may use anti-inflammatory medications or recommend revision surgery (replacement of an artificial joint). Medical scientists are experimenting with new materials that last longer and cause less inflammation. Less common complications of hip replacement surgery include infection, blood clots, and heterotopic bone formation (bone growth beyond the normal edges of bone).
What types of exercise are most suitable for someone with a total hip replacement?
Proper exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness and increase flexibility and muscle strength. People who have an artificial hip should talk to their doctor or physical therapist about developing an appropriate exercise program. Most exercise programs begin with safe range-of-motion activities and muscle-strengthening exercises. The doctor or therapist will decide when the patient can move on to more demanding activities. Many doctors recommend avoiding high-impact activities, such as basketball, jogging, and tennis. These activities can damage the new hip or cause loosening of its parts. Some recommended exercises are cross-country skiing, swimming, walking, and stationary bicycling. These exercises can increase muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness without injuring the new hip.
Source: The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bldg. 31/Rm. 4C05, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2350, Bethesda, MD 20892-2350. Telephone: (301) 496-8188. Fax: (301) 480-2814. World Wide Web: www.nih.gov/niams.
Your patients can learn more from this source:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 6300 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018-4262. Telephone: (847) 823-7186; (800) 346-AAOS. Fax: (847) 823-8125. World Wide Web: www.aaos.org.