Hip replacement surgery in Port St. Lucie, Florida

Hip replacement surgery is a highly successful type of major surgery and one in which the doctors at St. Lucie Medical Center have extensive experience. If your hip pain does not respond adequately to conservative treatments, we may suggest you consider hip replacement surgery.

In a hip replacement, the diseased joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. We will help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of your surgical options and recommend which treatment may be most effective for you.

To learn more about options for hip replacement surgery, call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (772) 742-9060.

Hip replacement surgery is just one treatment we offer as part of our continuum of orthopedic services. We provide expert joint care for patients with chronic joint pain and offer innovative solutions to minimize pain and restore mobility. Blue Cross Blue Shield has recognized St. Lucie Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center+ for Knee and Hip Replacement.

A joint is formed by the ends of two or more bones that are connected by thick tissues. For example, your hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, formed by the ball (or femoral head) at the upper end of the thighbone and the rounded socket (or acetabulum) in the pelvis.

The bone ends of a joint are covered with a smooth, tough material called cartilage. Normal cartilage cushions the bones and allows nearly frictionless and pain-free movement. The rest of the surfaces of the joint are covered by a thin, smooth tissue lining called the synovium. The synovium produces fluid that acts as a lubricant to reduce friction and wear in the joint.

What causes hip pain?

Pain in the hip can be debilitating, making it difficult to walk, climb stairs or even pick up an object from the floor. It can limit your freedom of movement and ability to function independently. While hip pain can be caused by deformity or by direct injury, like trauma or a sports injury, the most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD).

Depending on factors including age, weight, joint function and activity level, patients with arthritis find the hip’s cartilage lining wears away over time. That means bones rub against each other, resulting in friction, swelling, pain, stiffness and instability.

What is a hip replacement?

Hip replacement involves replacing the femur (head of the thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket) with artificial implants. Typically, the artificial ball with its stem is made of a strong metal or ceramic, and the artificial socket is made of polyethylene (a durable, wear-resistant plastic) or metal backed with a plastic liner. The artificial joint may be cemented in position or held securely in the bone without cement.

Hip replacement surgeries help more than 300,000 Americans each year relieve chronic hip pain. This treatment is designed to be a long-lasting solution, but hip replacement will remain effective for different amounts of time for different people. It mostly depends on a patient's age and activity level.

Candidates for hip replacement

Total hip replacement is often reserved for patients who:

  • Have a painful, disabling joint disease of the hip resulting from a severe form of arthritis
  • Are not likely to achieve satisfactory results from less invasive procedures, such as arthrodesis (artificial stiffening or fixation of the joint)
  • Have bone stock that is of poor quality or inadequate for other reconstructive techniques

Hip replacement surgery may be considered when arthritis limits your everyday activities, including:

  • Walking and bending
  • When pain continues while resting
  • Stiffness in your hip limits your ability to move or lift your leg

Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. It may be time to consider surgery if you have little pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, or if other treatments, such as physical therapy, do not relieve hip pain.

Minimally invasive hip replacement

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is a general term used to describe a surgical procedure that uses one or more small incision(s) rather than one large incision. In some MIS procedures, the amount of soft tissue (muscles, tendons, etc.) that are disrupted during surgery may also be reduced. We also offer robotic hip replacement, which is a form of MIS hip replacement surgery.

A MIS hip joint replacement may provide a number of potential benefits compared to traditional, open surgery, including:

  • Smaller scar, because of the smaller incision
  • Faster recovery, because of less tissue disruption
  • Less blood loss

Only your orthopedic surgeon can properly evaluate whether you are a candidate for a MIS hip joint replacement procedure. Risk factors relating to your anatomy, weight, prior joint replacements and personal health issues should be addressed with your orthopedic surgeon.

Ceramic-on-ceramic hip replacement

Conventional total hip systems use implants made of plastic and/or metal. As total hip replacement becomes more common in younger and more active patients, and as patient life expectancies continue to increase, the orthopedic industry is being challenged to extend the lifespan of total hip replacement components.

Ceramic-on-ceramic surfaces have demonstrated significantly less wear and tear versus conventional plastic-on-metal and metal-on-metal hip systems in the laboratory, resulting in a longer lasting implant. Alumina ceramic is the hardest material next to diamond and is known to be biocompatible (tolerated well in the body), with excellent lubrication characteristics and improved wear properties.

Our orthopedic surgeons may consider ceramic-on-ceramic hip replacements appropriate for younger, active patients. The best type of replacement-hip surface for you depends on your medical condition, activity level and age.

Hip replacement recovery

Typically, patients will spend no more than three to five days in the hospital recovering from a hip replacement surgery. Most patients begin standing and walking on their new joint the day after surgery aided by a walker or physical therapist.

Total recovery time will vary from patient to patient. It is vital to follow your orthopedic surgeon's guidelines for home care and prescribed exercise program the first few weeks after surgery. You should be able to resume normal, light activities of daily living at three to six months after surgery.

You may experience discomfort during activity and at night for several weeks. This is common. Complete recovery time can take from three to six months.

As this is a major surgery, there is a risk of complications. Complications are rare, but most commonly include blood clots. Your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe blood thinners to prevent the formation of blood clots or recommend special support hose and/or inflatable leg coverings.