What You Should Know Before Getting a Hip Replacement

Total hip replacements are on the rise yearly due to factors like old age and the prevalence of arthritis. According to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, by 2030, the number of hip replacement surgeries in the United States will quadruple from 200,000 to 635,000 per year. Understandably, most people have a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding hip replacement surgery. Well, the good news is that the chances of problems are very low with the new advancements in total hip replacement surgeries.

What Is Hip Replacement Surgery?

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure by which an orthopedic surgeon replaces the damaged part of a joint with a prosthetic implant. Hip replacement surgeries can be done as a total replacement or hemi replacement.

The prosthetic implants are usually made of metal, ceramic or tough plastic.

After the Hip replacement surgery, the new hip can significantly enhance a person’s quality of life, functioning similarly to a natural hip.

Different kinds of hip replacement surgery:

  • Total Hip Replacement: When performing a total hip replacement, the ball and socket of the femur (the top of the thigh bone) are surgically removed. They are replaced with artificial versions that look similar to the original—a cup to act as the new socket and a ball serving as the new femoral head. The replacement head is fixed in place by inserting a metal rod into the femur.

  • Hemi Replacement: In a partial or hemi hip replacement, the femoral head is the only hip joint component replaced by a prosthesis (hemiarthroplasty).

Although this operation is often performed on an inpatient basis in a hospital, certain patients may be candidates for outpatient surgery.

Factors to Think About Before Getting a Hip Replacement

Consider these points before undergoing complete hip replacement to ensure the best possible outcome.

Deciding on the right time to get a hip replacement done

The decision to get a hip replacement is the first step. Are you having trouble sleeping and going about your day because of your pain? Did you find no long-term relief using other methods, such as therapy or medication? How would you rate your health right now? If you tick off any of the questions above, it might be time to take action.

Go to a reputable doctor

Finding a surgeon you can trust and who is experienced with hip replacements is crucial. Research has revealed that compared to those who perform fewer hip replacements, more prolific surgeons have superior outcome scores, lower complication rates, and more consistent results. Even more so, a fellowship provides some surgeons with specialized training in hip replacement. Patients seeking a surgeon should do their homework and consult with reliable sources such as their primary care provider.

Evaluate and understand your options, but trust your doctor’s call

A total hip replacement can be performed through various approaches, including the posterior, anterolateral, direct anterior, and direct lateral. An approach is selected depending on the patient’s unique circumstances and the surgeon’s level of expertise. There are theoretical benefits to all of them, but not enough evidence to choose one over the others. Any available surgical method can be quite successful in the hands of a skilled surgeon. Similarly, hip replacement surgery offers many implant alternatives. However, a specific implant is yet to be proven as the definitive superior choice.

Make sure you are ready for the surgery

Each individual has unique elements that may increase or decrease their chance of a negative surgical outcome. Before surgery, patients must improve their overall health. It is advisable that smokers make an effort to quit. Get your blood sugar level under control if you have diabetes. Aim for weight loss if you are overweight. As an added precaution, some hip replacement surgeons advocate for pre-hab, or physical therapy, prior to surgery to improve pre-and post-op recovery.

Give your all to get better

The operation to replace a patient’s hip is the first stage of a protracted recovery process. While the surgeon is responsible for the actual operation, the patient has a lot of work ahead of them in the form of physical therapy over several weeks. After surgery, some patients will go home immediately, while others will need a short stay at a rehabilitation facility. Physical and mental dedication on the patient’s side is vital in maximizing results following hip replacement surgery, even though patients typically battle with pain and general exhaustion during the early stages of physical therapy.

The Takeaway

The choice to have hip replacement surgery is a major one. The potential outcomes of postponing this procedure should be considered when evaluating the risks involved. Talk to your doctor and get the necessary answers before making the final call.

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