If you are living with chronic hip pain, you may be considering hip replacement surgery. Having your hip replaced may allow you to return to activities that were once too painful to do. While most hip replacement surgeries go well, there is always the chance of infection. Knowing what signs to look for and taking steps to prevent complications will help you to avoid and manage any infection that may occur.
In hip replacement surgery, the damaged part of the joint will be removed and the joint surfaces will be prepared. A metal, ceramic or plastic ball and socket replacement will then be put in.
Occurrence of Infection Symptoms
The good news is that only two per cent of patients who undergo a total hip replacement develop an infection. Symptoms of an infection can occur when bacteria from a dental procedure, urinary tract infection or a skin infection take hold in the prosthesis.
Common Signs of an Infection
If you develop an infection from hip replacement surgery, you may experience chills or a fever that is above 37.8 degrees C. Other signs to watch for include your hip pain getting progressively worse, along with a loss of mobility.
As an infection gets worse you may notice swelling, redness or sensitivity around the incision or hip joint. Drainage from the incision is also a sign of an infection. An infection can also loosen the prosthesis.
If the infection is not detected, the bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body. This can cause infections of the bladder, prostate or kidneys. If the infection can not be managed through antibiotics, then the prosthesis will have to be surgically removed.
Preventing Hip Replacement Infections
You can take steps before surgery to minimise your risk of infection. Tell your surgeon before you go in for surgery if you have any skin infections or irritations. They may need to be cleared up before surgery. Having dental work done can sometimes release bacteria into the blood stream and lead to infection as well.