Hemiarthroplasty is an orthopedic surgical procedure that is used most commonly to treat a fractured hip. This procedure is employed for the treatment of certain femoral neck fractures where the femoral head is removed and replaced. The procedure is similar to a total hip replacement, but it involves only half of the hip. (Hemi means half, and arthroplasty means joint replacement.) The hemiarthroplasty replaces only the ball portion of the hip joint, not the socket portion. In a total hip replacement, the socket is also replaced.
Since the procedure is quicker and far less morbid than internal fixation, hemiarthroplasty is also routinely used in older, less active and comorbid patients who would not be good surgical candidates for total arthroplasty.
A hip hemiarthroplasty may be suitable for patients who have the fracture at the neck of the femur. In particular, when the fracture occurs at the location that is close to the hip joint, hemiarthroplasty is routinely employed. If the fracture is very close to the hip joint, the blood supply to the head of the femur may be disrupted. In certain cases, the fracture appears healed but the head of the femur will just crumble away due to lack of blood supply.
Hemiarthroplasty surgery of the hip is one of the most important surgical advances of the last century. The procedure was first introduced in 1960, and later significant improvements have been made to enhance the effectiveness of total hip replacement.
After surgery, patients will be given pain medication intravenously or by mouth. In addition, antibiotics will be given to patients to prevent an infection. Moreover, medications will be given to prevent dissolve blood clots in the legs. Soon after surgery, patients receive physical therapy. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process. The physical therapy or rehabilitation program generally includes exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint, as well as training in activities of daily life such as stair climbing, bending and walking. The goal of rehabilitation or physical therapy is to regain strength and motion.
After several weeks to months of recovery, patients will be encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle. Most people can resume their normal activities within three to six months. With newer surgical techniques, recovery time may be reduced even further. While high-impact sports such as running and skiing are not usually recommended after hip replacement surgery, patients can typically participate in activities like walking, and cycling.