According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 332,000 total hip replacements are performed in the United States each year. In fact, from 2000 to 2010, the number of hip replacements have more than doubled and while procedures rose by 92 percent in people age 75 and older, they increased by 205 percent in people ages 45 to 54. Hip replacement surgeries are becoming increasingly commonplace, it is still a major surgery that involves weeks of recovery. But if constant pain from a deteriorating hip joint is limiting your ability to live a full life, then it might be time to consider hip replacement surgery.
Consider the following before you decide if it’s time for hip replacement surgery:
▪ Pain is keeping you from doing normal activities
Osteoarthritis is the most common reason people have hip replacements, but degenerative disease and trauma can also lead to excruciating hip pain. If the pain is keeping you from walking more than a few blocks, sleep through the night or do normal daily activities, then it’s time to discuss your options with your doctor. Remember as we age, it is difficult to regain fitness. Excessive delay may not be in your best interest.
▪ Choose a surgeon, not a procedure
It’s a good idea to do preliminary research about your condition and have a basic understanding of what approach might be best for you. But it makes more sense to choose a surgeon who is a specialist in hip and knee replacement rather than insisting on choosing the type of procedure you want. Choose a surgeon who will offer the best option for your situation and one who has done many procedures.
▪ One hip or two?
If both of your hips require surgery is it best to get them replaced at the same time? Replacing both hips is possible in some situations. Good overall health and strength are factors. Good social support is a must for the early recovery period. As always each patient is individually evaluated.
▪Hip replacements are a lifelong responsibility
Hip replacements may be the most successful procedure in medicine. They do have risks. Hips can become infected, dislocate (ball exits socket), and wear out. These are reasons to choose a surgeon who has dedicated his life’s work to these operations exclusively.
▪ Better, stronger, faster
Hip replacements can return certain individuals to full activity. This could include sporting activities. Ask your surgeon if your situation could include these goals. Keep in mind a restoration of painless low impact activity with a full range of movement is a nearly universal goal.
▪ New Hips, New You
Most patients recover from hip replacement surgery with a whole new outlook on life. Pain is gone and functionality is better. Each patient is different but for the most part, patients who have hip replacements almost immediately feel better. Because hip function is central for skeletal health, back and knee pain may improve.
If you are ready to talk to a surgeon, the specialty-trained hip and knee orthopedic surgeons at OrthoIllinois are available to meet for a consultation. Call 815-398-9491.