At the office of Dr. Gibson, we believe in keeping our patients informed about every step of the process. After all, an informed patient is a patient that makes healthy decisions! Here are a few of the questions we're asked most often.
- What is Arthritis?
- Do I Have Arthritis?
- How is Arthritis Treated?
- Why Choose Hip Replacement Over Hip Resurfacing?
- Am I a Candidate for Anterior Hip Replacement?
- How Long Will I Be in the Hospital?
- What Will My Recovery Routine Be Like?
If your question is not on the list, don't worry-- we're still happy to answer it. Call us or contact us online and we'll get back to you with an answer promptly.
Q1: What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a progressive, disabling condition of degenerative joint cartilage that millions of Americans suffer from each day. There are many types of arthritis, but they all lead to the painful erosion of articulate cartilage, which lessens the friction between your bones and cannot be regenerated once it's lost. Once the cartilage has been worn away, movement becomes painful and it's time to speak to an orthopedic surgeon about your treatment options.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis, and most patients with arthritis suffer from this. It usually affects older individuals because it is the result of natural joint cartilage wear and tear over a long and active life. Patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the hip may be perfect candidates for anterior total hip replacement surgery because it minimizes the damage done to the surrounding supportive tissue, allowing you to quickly return to your regular life activities. Arthritis can also be caused by sickness, blood loss, injury, and inflammation of the joints (rheumatoid arthritis).
Q2: Do I Have Arthritis?
If, over time, you've noticed your joints becoming painful and stiff, it might be time to talk to your doctor about arthritis. Arthritis is particularly common amongst older patients or patients who have a long history of intense physical damage or inflammation to their joints. Not all arthritis pain is acute, so even regular dull aches in your hip, thigh, and knee may be a sign of arthritis.
The most conclusive way to determine whether or not you have arthritis is to receive an X-ray. By examining the film of your X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, our dedicated team can determine whether an office appointment with Dr. Gibson is right for you.
Q3: How is Arthritis Treated?
There are many ways for patients to treat their arthritis symptoms, depending on their severity. If you suffer from regular joint aches and sharp pain in your hip or knee, we are happy to discuss your case and provide you with the dedicated care your individual needs require. Those patients suffering from mild arthritis may choose to treat their symptoms with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, braces and walking aids, or therapeutic injections. However, when these more mild corrective treatments fail to provide you with relief, it may be time to consider joint surgery.
Dr. Gibson specializes in using minimally invasive joint replacing procedures that provide the maximum amount of arthritis relief with as little disruption to the joint's surrounding muscles and ligaments as possible. He is one of only three Michigan orthopedic surgeons performing ligament sparing total knee replacement and was one of the first in the state to perform outpatient total hip replacement surgery. Because of his focus on maintaining the body's natural muscular integrity, his patients can boast greater stability and faster recovery times than those who underwent more destructive hip or knee replacement procedures.
Q4: Why Choose Hip Replacement Over Hip Resurfacing?
Total hip replacement is less invasive, more comfortable, and longer-lasting than hip resurfacing. Hip resurfacing places a metal cap on the femoral head and in your hip socket, which can generate metal debris when they rub against each other and raise the level of metal ions in the blood. This grinding of metal on metal can also cause soft tissue damage which, combined with the invasive approach in the original surgery and the possibility of the implant needing later revisions, means considerably more time healing than being active.
Conversely, hip replacement involves placing a soft-impact stem inside the shaft of the femur. A total hip replacement implant can also be made of multiple kinds of materials (metal, polyethylene, ceramics) with a much lower wear rate and, therefore, a lower metal ion level. This process also has a lower incidence of post-operative fracture around the prosthesis.
Q5: Am I a Candidate for Anterior Hip Replacement?
Most likely! 95% of patients Dr. Gibson evaluates for a total hip replacement are candidates for an anterior approach. Typically only patients with severe hip deformities or a BMI that categorizes them as morbidly obese do not meet the requirements.
Q6: How Long Will I Be in the Hospital?
The time you spend in the hospital post-procedure depends mostly on the surgery you undergo. Most total hip patients, for example, are only required to stay in the hospital overnight, but total knee replacement patients will need one to two days. If you are an outpatient for either surgery, though, or if you are a partial knee replacement patient, you will likely leave for home the same day as the operation!
Q7: What Will My Recovery Routine Be Like?
As Dr. Gibson's minimally invasive techniques preserve a great amount of the joint's natural structure and supportive soft tissue, many of his patients can return to activities like golfing, swimming, tennis, hiking, and cycling only a short while after surgery. However, the speed of your recovery will depend on following a few, but significant, routines.
First, it is encouraged that patients begin physical therapy immediately, either through home visits by a physical therapist or as an outpatient. Patients should also take a daily dose of aspirin once a day for six weeks, or of Xarelto for 2 to 4 weeks if they have a history of blood clot or stroke. You will also be given compression devices for your calves to use for two weeks, which will greatly lower the chance of developing a blood clot.