Risks and Complications
Risks and complications
As with any major surgery (i.e. hip replacement), there are potential risks involved. The decision to proceed with the surgery is made because the advantages of surgery outweigh the potential disadvantages. It is important that you are informed of these risks before the surgery takes place.
Complications can be medical (general) or specific to the hip;
Medical complications include those of the anesthetic and your general well being. Almost any medical condition can occur so this list is not complete. Complications include:
Hip Specific Complications
Hip Specific complications
Leg length inequality
It is very difficult to make the leg exactly the same length as the other one. Occasionally the leg is deliberately lengthened to make the hip stable during surgery. There are some occasions when it is simply not possible to match the leg lengths. All leg length inequalities can be treated by a simple shoe raise on the shorter side
Infection can occur with any operation. In the hip this can be superficial or deep. Infection rates are approximately 1%. If it occurs, it can be treated with antibiotics but may require further surgery. Very rarely your hip may need to be removed to eradicate infection.
This means the hip comes out of its socket. Precautions need to be taken with your new hip forever. If a dislocation occurs it needs to be put back into place with an anesthetic. Rarely this becomes a recurrent problem needing further surgery.
A break of the femur (thigh bone) or pelvis (hipbone). This is also rare but can occur during or after surgery. This may prolong your recovery or require further surgery
Damage to Nerves or Blood vessels
Also rare but can lead to weakness and loss of sensation in part of the leg. Damage to blood vessels may require further surgery if bleeding is ongoing.
These can form in the calf muscles and can travel to the lung (pulmonary embolism). These can occasionally be serious and even life threatening. If you get calf pain or shortness of breath at any stage, you should notify your surgeon.
Your scar can be sensitive or have a surrounding area of numbness. This normally decreases over time and does not lead to any problems with your new joint.
All joints eventually wear out. The more active you are, the quicker this will occur. In general 80-90% of hips survive 15 years.
Failure to relieve pain
Very rare but may occur especially if some pain is coming from other areas such as the spine.
Unsightly or thickened scar
Pressure or bed sores
Limp due to muscle weakness
Although every effort has been made to explain the complications there will be complications that may not have been specifically mentioned. A good knowledge of this operation will make the stress of undertaking the operation easier for you to bear.
The decision to proceed with the surgery is made because the advantages of surgery outweigh the potential disadvantages. It is important that you are informed of these risks before the surgery.
You must not proceed until you are confident that you understand this procedure, particularly the complications.