Should you consider a hip replacement? More people are than ever before, for a number of reasons.
First of all, hip arthroplasty (hip replacement) techniques and technologies have improved significantly over the past 15 years. The prosthetics used are stronger and last longer than ever before. New techniques, including the anterior total hip replacement, have reduced complications and made recovery quicker and less painful.
There are things you can do before considering surgery, such as taking medication, walking with a cane, and exercising. But if the hip joint is severely deteriorated, these interventions might not be enough.
Common conditions that may require hip replacement surgery are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Osteonecrosis (death of the bone)
- Injury and/or Trauma
- Bone tumor
You may need a partial hip replacement, where only the ball portion of the hip is replaced, or a total hip replacement, where both the ball and the socket are replaced. You’ll be completely asleep while the damaged bone is removed and the prosthesis or prostheses are implanted. The prostheses are made of a combination of metal, plastic and/or ceramic.
Healthy, active people of all ages are able to have hip replacement surgery. Those in poor health or with diseases that affect the muscles may not be good candidates.
Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for hip replacement surgery and what to expect before, during and after. Most people remain in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after surgery. You’ll need to arrange for help and set up your living space to accommodate your recovery (i.e. place items like the remote control within reach, and make sure you don’t need to reach up or bend down to perform your daily tasks).
Physical therapy is an important part of recovery. It takes between 3 and 6 months to fully recover from hip replacement surgery. People who are compliant with physical therapy and do their at-home exercises recover more quickly than those who don’t.
You may have to avoid certain movements or high-impact activities to avoid dislocation or damage of your new hip joint. That said, most people who have hip replacement surgery can enjoy a fulfilling, active lifestyle.