Hip replacement surgery is performed to replace a hip joint that is damaged and degraded, and is unable to perform to its intended purpose. An artificial material such as metal or ceramic is used in its place and this will relieve pain and allow patients to regain their range of motion and thus makes them able to perform things that they previously could not. Although the end results are impressive, there are side effects involved too.
Hip dislocation is a common side effect experienced by many patients post surgery. As the prosthetic used for the surgery is normally smaller than the patient’s own hip bone, the replacement hip ball tends to slip out of the socket easily. The replacement hip joint may also irritate the tissues around it, causing inflammation of the tissues and possibly degradation of the bone. Bone degradation is a serious thing and can cause pain and additional corrective surgery.
Pain is an inevitable side effect that will definitely be experienced by all. Pain will affect the patient’s ability to move about after surgery. Medication will be prescribed by the doctor to allow patients to feel more comfortable and pain will subside as time passes. However if patients experience severe or prolonged pain, they should seek care from a medical professional.
Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a common side effect post surgery which is accompanied by swelling and discolouration of the skin. DVT occurs due to poor blood circulation throughout the leg, causing blood clots. If the blood clot flows through the blood and enters the lungs, it can be life threatening and will cause breathing difficulties that may be fatal.
One very rare side effect is infection. Bacteria could get into the prosthetic joint area and trigger a body reaction, causing infection. However this is rare due to the disinfected environment in the operating theatre but it could still happen due to human errors. If patients experience high fever of more than 38 degrees Celsius accompanied by chills and discharging of body fluids, they must seek medical help immediately.
Injuries to the nerves are uncommon due to hip replacement surgery. The nerves around the surgical site could be accidentally injured and/or damaged during surgery and this will cause numbness and a tingling sensation. In most cases, they are only temporary and patients will fully regain their feeling over a period of time. In more severe cases, they can be permanent and patients will never have a sensation at the injury site again.
Most side effects are only temporary and will go away with time. Most of them are not serious and will only cause some slight discomfort to the patient. However, there are rare and more serious side effects that could possibly occur. Patients are thus advised to speak to their surgeon and fully understand all the risks and side effects before deciding to undergo the surgery.