Arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis, are common causes of chronic hip pain and disability. Arthritis causes swelling and inflammation in the joint, causing a patient to experience pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is the age-related wear and tear form of the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and traumatic arthritis develops after a serious hip injury or fracture. Another condition that causes hip pain is avascular necrosis, which occurs when an injury to the hip limits the blood supply to the head of the femur, causing the bone to collapse. Children and infants can develop hip disease, which leads to arthritis later in life because the hip doesn’t grow correctly.
In a total hip replacement, Dr. Christensen removes the damaged bone and cartilage and replaces it with prosthetic components. The femoral head is typically replaced with a metal stem that fits into the center of the bone with a metal or ceramic ball fitted to the top. The cartilage surface of the socket is replaced with a metal socket, which is held in place with either screws or a firm press fit or
surgical cement. A spacer, made of plastic, metal, or ceramic fits between the new ball and socket to create a smooth gliding surface. When possible, Dr. Christensen uses minimally invasive techniques to perform the surgery. The doctor will discuss the options available and advise patients if a minimally invasive hip replacement is a viable option.
Following surgery, patients will need to move easily while the body heals and the new joint is accepted into the body. Most patients will begin physical therapy soon after surgery to keep the muscles supple and to slowly rebuild any strength, flexibility, and range of motion lost during surgery. Dr. Christensen will provide customized treatment plans following surgery to ensure that each patient recovers fully and is able to return to normal activities. In most cases, patients will begin with rest and small movements, building up over time until a full recovery is made.
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