What's the Difference Between a Partial and Total Hip Replacement?

Chronic hip pain can be caused by a number of factors, including injury or arthritis. No matter what the reason, hip pain causes problems with your mobility and ability to perform activities of daily living. If you’re at the point of needing surgery, you probably have questions about what surgery you’ll need to get your life back on track.

At Mehling Orthopedics, our goal is to get you back to your normal activities as quickly and safely as possible. Dr. Brian Mehling and Dr. Pavel Yufit, board-certified orthopedic surgeons explain the different types of hip replacement surgery.

Who needs a hip replacement?

Hip problems usually start later in life, but can really happen to anyone, especially if there’s a hip injury. However, the most common reason for hip pain, and ultimately a replacement, is osteoarthritis. This a chronic condition that causes the cartilage in your hip joint to wear down, causing inflammation and pain. 

Other reasons you may need hip surgery include:

Hip replacement surgery is usually the last resort treatment option because of its invasive nature. Unless there’s a severe injury that requires surgical intervention right away, other measures that our doctors may recommend to get your pain under control include:

If you’re overweight, Dr. Mehling and Dr. Yufit may also recommend losing excess pounds, as the extra weight can be hard on your joints.

Partial vs. total

If conservative treatment didn’t make your hip troubles go away, and your quality of life is being affected, it may be time to consider surgical intervention. 

There are two types of hip replacement surgery: partial and total hip replacement. So what’s the difference between the two?

A partial hip replacement is exactly as it sounds: only part of your hip joint gets replaced. With a partial replacement, our doctors only replace the ball joint of your hip, which is at the tip of your femur (thighbone). 

If our surgeons recommend that you have a total hip replacement, it means that you’ll have both the ball joint and the socket it sits in replaced. The socket, also known as your acetabulum, is located in your pelvis bone. 

The replacement parts, also called prosthetics, are normally made of either ceramic, hard plastics, or metal. We’ll go over your history of pain and your imaging studies to decide if you need a partial or a total hip replacement.

No matter which procedure you’re scheduled for, the key to success on your end starts after the surgery during the recovery phase.

Recovery from a hip replacement

The success of your hip replacement depends greatly on how motivated you are to get moving and adhere to your therapy plan. You’ll either go home the day of surgery, or you may need to spend the night in the hospital, which is very common.

Before you go home, a physical therapist visits you to get you up and moving. They’ll give you exercises that you can do at home to help strengthen the leg with the new hip. Movement is very important for your recovery, as it helps strengthen the muscles around the artificial hip.

Within six to twelve weeks after surgery, you’ll probably be able to return to some of your normal activities, as long as there are no complications. However, full recovery for this type of surgery may take anywhere from six to twelve months. After you recover, you should have less pain with your new hip.

If you’re tired of dealing with hip pain that’s affecting your life, call one of our two offices in West Islip, New York, or Hackensack, New Jersey, today to schedule an appointment.

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