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What is Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, involves replacing the damaged cartilage and bone in the hip with metal implants and high-grade plastic components. This surgery helps relieve pain and restore function in patients with difficulty walking.
Hip osteoarthritis is the most common condition that requires a hip replacement. It is an effective and safe procedure that has helped many patients regain mobility and independence.
When is Hip Replacement Surgery Needed?
Patients who suffer from hip osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may be suitable candidates for a hip replacement surgery. The damaged cartilage in their hip can cause pain and difficulty moving, which will require surgical intervention.
Other symptoms include:
- Groin pain, thigh or infrequently buttock pain
- Pain with walking and climbing stairs
- Hip stiffness
- Difficulty with foot care, wearing socks and shoes
- Difficulty wearing pants and trousers
- Difficulty getting in and out of a car
- Inability to squat
Once all non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, your doctor may recommend a hip replacement. Your doctor will first examine your hip to check for stiffness, loss of motion, and stability. X-rays of the hip will be needed to evaluate the degree of damage.
MRI scans may be requested if your condition is at an early stage of the disease. A bone mineral density scan is useful for assessing osteoporosis. Once the tests are completed, your doctor will discuss your options for the hip implant and surgical approach.
What Are the Types of Hip Replacement Surgery?
Depending on several factors, such as the extent of damage to the hip joint, your doctor may recommend different types of hip replacement surgery.
Total Hip Replacement: This surgical procedure will remove the femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (socket) and replace them with a prosthesis.
Partial Hip Replacement: Unlike a total hip replacement, this surgical procedure will only remove and replace the femoral head (ball) with an implant. This surgery is suitable for older patients with femur neck fractures.
Hip replacement addresses and eliminates hip pain from osteoarthritis. Some of these benefits include:
- Pain relief from hip pain
- Better hip movement and flexibility
- Improved walking
- Return to sport
After surgery, patients can stand and walk for longer periods. They regain their independence and are no longer afraid to travel longer distances. It allows patients to continue gainful employment without worrying about hip pain. For retired patients, the surgery allows them to enjoy their retirement and consider activities such as travelling abroad and participation in low-impact sports.
As with any surgery, a hip replacement surgery also has its risks. Although uncommon, it is possible to experience:
- Infection of the hip
- Damage to nerves and blood vessels around the hip
- Blood clots
- Hip dislocation
- Leg length discrepancy (unequal leg length)
If you are currently experiencing knee pain and joint pain, and wish to seek treatment, contact our clinic to schedule an appointment. Seeking treatment early allows our doctor to appropriately diagnose and treat your knee condition, preventing potential further complications.
What to Expect During a Hip Replacement Surgery?
The surgical team will advise you on any pre-surgery evaluation tests or fasting that is required.
A hip replacement using the posterior approach is done under general or regional (spinal) anaesthesia and will take 1-1.5 hours.
Step 1: The surgeon will make an incision between 15-20 cm over the buttock.
Step 2: The femoral head and any damaged cartilage are removed.
Step 3: The acetabulum and femoral metal implants will be accurately sized and placed in the joint.
Step 4: The incision is closed with sutures, and a drain is inserted to remove any fluids.
Dr Kau has harnessed technology to help achieve consistent results in his hip replacement surgeries. He is trained in robotic surgery and can perform this procedure with Robotic-Assisted devices to get accurate and consistent results.
Patients will be able to stand and take steps within 24 hours after surgery. Most patients can be comfortably discharged 1 to 2 days after surgery. You will need a walking aid for the first 4-6 weeks as your hip gets progressively stronger.
With consistent physical therapy, patients can return to normal mobility within three months, and mobility will continue to improve afterwards. High-impact activities may not be recommended during the recovery, but low-impact exercises like swimming and walking can strengthen the joint.
Recovery after a hip replacement surgery can be improved with proper preparations. If you are overweight, keeping in shape before surgery can strengthen your body to move around in crutches easier.
Patients may also meet with their physiotherapist to discuss rehabilitation exercises post-surgery so that you are more familiar with them.
After a hip replacement surgery, mobility may be reduced for a couple of weeks, and patients will require some form of walking aid. To make this transition easier, patients are recommended to prepare their homes so they can move around easily and safely.
Some home preparations include:
- Setting up a space where you can reach your daily necessities without climbing stairs
- Installing a shower chair
- Installing a raised toilet seat
- Fixing safety bars in the shower
- Removing hazards such as rugs and clutter
What is the Cost of a Hip Replacement in Singapore?
According to MOH’s fee guideline, a total hip replacement surgery costs an average of $40,000 at a private hospital. This fee is calculated before deducting your personal insurance plans (Integrated Shield Plans, Medishield Life) and MediSave payouts. The maximum MediSave payout you can obtain for a total hip replacement surgery is $4,650.
Dr Kau is on the panel for most major local insurers. Talk to our team and your insurance agent to understand the out-of-pocket fees required for a hip replacement surgery.
If you are experiencing joint pain and suspect you may be suffering from conditions related to the knee, hip, shoulder, spine, foot, ankle, elbow, wrist, or hand – allow Dr Kau to set you on the path towards recovery. Our orthopaedic specialist, Dr Kau Chung Yuan is experienced in treating patients of all ages with varying orthopaedic conditions. You should not have to be in pain, make your appointment today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Modern hip implants last an average of 15 years. For younger patients below 55, the polyethylene component can wear out with time. The construct may require revision and a second replacement later in life.
A hip replacement surgery can take 1-2 hours to complete.
If both hip joints are badly damaged, it is possible to replace them simultaneously, but this procedure is less common. Talk to our doctor to understand if this is a suitable approach for you.
Patients can resume regular activities after 4-6 weeks but full recovery may take several months.
Patients will be able to walk after a hip replacement and mobility will improve as they recover.
Climbing stairs right after a hip replacement will require walking aids but patients will be able to climb normally after 3-4 weeks.
We collaborate with most major insurance partners in Singapore to ensure our patients’ peace of mind in their treatment journey. We understand the importance of financial considerations and offer assistance and financing information to our patients. Please reach out to our staff and we will be happy to provide you with the information you require.
Dr Kau was very careful and explained clearly the surgery procedures. After surgery, the care while I was in hospital was closely monitored and he even came during weekends! The hip so far has recovered and healed. His ‘predictions’ of when what can happen are so accurate. Trust him.Ming Lee Chua
Dr. Kau is an exemplary doctor who is experienced in his field and is very patient with his patients. He walked me through the details of my knee condition and addressed all my concerns. Thanks to Dr. Kau, I had a better understanding of my ACL and MCL injury and the various treatment options available. His advice and treatment have been very valuable to me.Ethan Chan
I had a very successful total hip replacement done by Dr Kau 4 years ago. 4 months after the operation I was back walking, cycling and swimming. The beautiful job gave me much confidence Dr Kau is most professional and has such great doctor patient communication.Teo Pek Suan Diana
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