Undergoing hip surgery is a big decision, as it carries various risks and can deliver significant benefits. Here are seven things you need to know about hip replacement surgery:
1. The majority of patients who undergo this procedure experience a significant reduction in pain. This procedure often also delivers improved movement and strength of the midsection and legs. As a result of this surgery, patients typically enjoy improved mobility and are able to live a more active lifestyle, leading to increases in life satisfaction and personal health.
2. Hip joint damage that leads to the need for surgery comes from a variety of conditions. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of this joint damage, but rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, injury, fracture and bone tumors can also lead to joint problems that need surgery.
3. It is not a permanent fix. Although hip replacement surgery has seen improvements in technique and materials used, there is still no guarantee that this procedure will last forever. According to Dr. William Maloney of the Stanford University School of Medicine, the average joint replacement will last about 20 years.
4. It is not a good choice for everyone. Because healthy people get the best results following hip replacement surgery, those with Parkinson’s disease, a high risk of infection, any muscle-weakness disease, or general poor health should not undergo hip replacement surgery.
5. Hip replacement surgery can be successful for both younger and older individuals. In the past, the surgery was primarily performed for those over the age of 60, but advancements in materials, techniques and understanding make hip replacement a possibility for younger people.
6. There are severe, though not terribly common, risks. These include infection, blood clots, and excessive bone growth outside of normal bone boundaries. It should be noted that these risks are much lower now than in the past.
7. There are alternative treatments. Although those with rheumatoid arthritis, injury of the hip joint, or bone tumors are good candidates for the surgery, a doctor will likely suggest other treatments before resorting to surgery. These treatments include walking aides, physical activity programs, pain reliving medication, and physical therapy. Weight loss is also an effective tool for reducing joint problems. Hip replacement surgery should not be pursued unless alternative treatments have been tried.
Consult with your physician and orthopedic specialist to determine if hip replacement surgery is a good choice for you.