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Why Does a Hip Replacement Dislocate?

Why Does a Hip Replacement Dislocate?
Hip replacement surgeries revitalize people who have mobility issues due to hip pain.  Although this surgery has become routine, there are still people who worry about dislocation after the surgery.  Dislocation is a rare occurrence, but it does happen.  In this video, Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon discusses why this occurs and tips on how to prevent it.

Summary of video:

Why do total hip replacements dislocate or pop out of the joint?  And what can I do to prevent it?

The hip is a ball and socket joint. When this joint is replaced with an artificial ball and socket, the ball can sometimes pop out of the socket if the implants are not positioned correctly using the proper angles and geometry.  Dislocation is also possible when the muscles holding in the hip joint are weak.

If the surgery is done from the anterior front approach, there is less chance of dislocation.  Both anterior (front) and posterior (back) approaches work, and in the long term, the results are similar.

With the posterior approach, typically the patient is not supposed to bend the hip for a month or two post-surgery because the joint may pop out.  If you get a posterior approach, which an excellent approach -  no bending. No flexing your hip past 90 degrees or it can pop out.  This restriction is because the muscles have been cut to gain access to the joint to perform the hip replacement.  It takes time for those muscles to heal and regain their strength.

The anterior approach has no restrictions. In the anterior approach, the muscles are not cut but pushed aside to perform the surgery.  Since the muscles were not cut or detached, no healing time is required.  Post surgery patients have no restrictions.  They can squat the first day.  That's an advantage.

Any hip replacement can dislocate, there's no question.  The hip is a ball and socket, and the artificial ball can come out of the socket.  It's a rare problem.  No matter which approach is used performing the physical therapy exercises will strengthen the muscles holding in the hip and dislocation is less likely.  All hip replacement patients should dedicate themselves to their physical therapy to obtain the best results.

Details beyond that you need to have a conversation with your hip surgeon to go into the details of this topic.  Your surgeon will be able to tell you what to expect post-surgery based on your general health and fitness.

For more information on hip replacement surgery, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.

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