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Hip Replacement Risks

Hip replacement is one of the most succesful of all medical technologies, with the highest quality of life improvements of any medical treatments. It allows a person with significant joint pain and functional loss of activities of daily living to return to a mostly trouble free level of mobility and comfort. However, as will all treatments there are risks and complications.

Most risks and complications can be treated and recovered from and most people accept the risks in their quest to get rid of an arthritic and painful hip joint.

Hip replacement cost comparisons show that hip replacement costs are significantly lower for a hip replacement abroad, but its useful to consider if the level of complications might be higher. Managing the follow up of any issues should be considered before going on a foreign trip for total hip replacement surgery.

Hip replacement complications increase greatly with increasing age so that if someone is over eighty years of age they have a 20% chance of suffering one complication at least.

Further reading on hip replacement risks can be had at About.com:Orthopedics and the Hip and Knee Institute.

Risks divide up into three groups: occurring during the operation, occurring in the weeks succeeding the operation and longer term risks six months or so further on.

Hip Replacement Complications During Operation

Complications during operation include surgical damage to local structures such as arteries, veins and the sciatic nerve, fracture of the femoral shaft when preparing it, breaking through the socket when preparing it and making one leg significantly longer than the other.


Hip Replacement Complications After Operation

Complications after surgery include dislocation of the joint, infection (the most serious one), bowel, urinary, respiratory and cardiovascular complications. Other problems can be formation of a blood clot around the wound, splitting of the wound, swollen ankles, skin complications and the rare instances of death.

Long Term Hip Replacement Complications

Longer terms risks include loosening of the components without infection, loss of bone density around the prosthesis, fracture of the components, later dislocation and infection.

While this is a long and worrying list, it is important to realise that most people do not have complications when they have hip replacement surgery, and if they do then the doctors are able to treat the vast majority quickly and effectively.



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