Total Hip Replacement
What is a Total Hip Replacement?
A total hip replacement, involves replacing the top of the femur bone and replacing the socket of the hip (acetabulum).
Mr Westerman uses computer planning software to carefully plan the position of the components, before your operation.
He uses the Exeter Total Hip Replacement, which has excellent long term survival results beyond 30 years, to create a customised joint replacement for each patient. He has worked extensively with the Exeter group, and frequently teaches surgeons how to perform such hip replacements on courses, both in the UK and abroad.
He does not use any experimental implants or technology without a proven track record.
What are the potential benefits of hip replacement surgery?
The main objective is to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.
Often the hip is quite stiff at the time of surgery and the leg may have shortened a little. Mr Westerman aims to restore the leg length and your range of movement.
The team will aim to get you out of bed and standing on the leg as soon as possible, on the same day as the operation.
You will be able to safely put your full weight through the hip immediately following surgery.
What are the risks of surgery?
Thankfully total hip replacements are very successful.
However potential complications must be considered. Specifically high risks will be discussed during your consultation.
It is important to be aware:
Blood loss could be enough to require a transfusion, but this is not common.
Infection risk is low, but possible for all operations, despite our obsessional precautions.
The sciatic nerve runs very close to the hip joint. Rarely, it can be injured, which might result in temporary or permanent numbness to the lower leg and a reduction of foot control, requiring the use of a lightweight splint.
Blood clots are always a concern and can even be fatal. We aim to get you mobile very quickly, to get the circulation flowing effectively. We will also provide you with injections to thin your blood and reduce the risk further.
Dislocations are a concern, particular in the early weeks. Every effort is made to make the hip stable, but it will take quite a few weeks to get your muscles strong enough to make it stable. It is very important to follow the strict precautions in the first few 6-12 weeks.
Leg length discrepancy. There may be a change to your leg length in order to ensure the joint is as stable as possible. Adjusting the leg length does alter the tensions around the hip. Often restoring the leg length to normal provides good joint stability, but not always. A shoe raise might occasionally be required, however often this is only a few millimetres.
Failure. The 20 year survival for modern hip replacements is very good, however it is a mechanical object, so will slowly try to work loose over time.