Hip replacement surgery is common these days, and whilst all operations come with an element of risk, generally the risk for hip surgery is considered low, particularly if you are in good health. Exploring all your options with a specialist will ensure you are making the right decision and help you take measures in advance to ensure you make a quick recovery.
Hip replacement surgery is common and low risk
There are approximately 160,000 total hip and knee replacement procedures performed each year in England and Wales, according to the National Joint Registry. Whilst knee surgery is more common, it is estimated that approximately 60,000 of the total are hip related.
More and more people are now able to live without joint pain, thanks to advances in medicine and technology.
The most common cause of hip pain is from osteoarthritis, but it can also be caused by injury or just general wear and tear with ageing.
Read more – Common Causes of Hip Pain
Between April 2003 and December 2014, there was a recorded 708,311 primary total hip replacements, of which 93% related to osteoarthritis.
Of the recorded surgeries, 60% were performed on women, with the median average age of 69 years.
Do you know all your options?
Before you venture down the road of hip replacement surgery, it is sensible to explore all non-invasive options first.
Even though the recovery times of surgery are reducing significantly due to new techniques, depending on your case you may be able to ease or eliminate the pain with other treatment.
Treatments could include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen may help treat mild hip pain.
- Targeted physiotherapy by an experienced physiotherapist can show positive results, particularly for hip pain caused by strains, bruising or inflammation of the muscles.
- Hip braces, also known as hip orthosis, are padded or elasticated braces that help align the hips and alleviate pain as well as prevent further strain or injury.
- Cortisone injections – the cause of hip pain may be linked to a lack of synovial fluid, which is normally produced in the hip joint to help keep it lubricated. This can cause friction and subsequently pain. Injections such as Depo-medrol or Durolane can be effective treatments to help to reduce swelling inside the joint, or act as a replacement lubricant.
In all cases of recurring hip pain, diagnosis is essential to determine the best treatment.
At times, hip pain can be caused by back problems or severe knee issues so diagnosis of the cause of the pain is vital.
When you should think twice about a hip replacement
Sometimes a hip replacement is not the best option, particularly if your general health is poor.
Any inflections, even relating to your gums or teeth would need treatment prior to the hip surgery to reduce the risk of infection.
Also, if you have a history of lung or heart problems, diabetes or blood clots, then hip replacement surgery may not be recommended.
If you are obese, or carry a lot of excess weight, then your doctor may insist you lose weight prior to any hip surgery, as being overweight can add complications with recovery.
Smokers may also need to quit, or significantly cut down, as this can also hinder recovery.
Hip replacement can often be the best option
According to Arthritis Research UK, over 8 million people suffer with osteoarthritis in the UK alone, with many more worldwide.
Hip surgery is sometimes the best option to treat this condition as well as other causes of hip pain.
When diagnosed correctly and treated by experienced surgeons, a hip replacement can produce the most effective results and patients generally can get back to normal activities within a few weeks of the operation.
If your doctor suggests hip replacement would be the most effective form of treatment for you, then it is important to remember that you won’t be able to drive for a while and will need help around the house too, so you can rest sufficiently and take any movement in your own stride.
Even if you make a full recovery, which is a probable outcome these days, high impact physical activities may need to be avoided so future issues do not arise. This will be discussed in full with your doctor according to your age, health and the activity in question.