Living with chronic hip pain can significantly limit your ability to enjoy everyday activities such as walking, sitting, and climbing stairs. Luckily, advances in orthopedic surgical procedures are improving the quality of orthopedic health care.
Joint replacement for instance, can now make it possible to replace the entire hip with artificial, durable, scientifically-engineered materials that can significantly reduce or totally eliminate chronic pain and restore a normal range of motion.
In a total hip replacement, also known as total hip arthroplasty, an orthopedic surgeon rebuilds the surfaces that comprise the ball-and-socket joint of the hip so that normal function can be regained.
The vast majority of hip replacements last between 10 and 20 years, and often longer.
Is a non-surgical intervention possible?
It’s always best to first determine if a non-surgical intervention is possible. Such options include medication, muscle strength and conditioning, and dietary adjustments.
If non-surgical intervention proves ineffective, surgery could be the solution — with some additional considerations.
When is a hip replacement not recommended?
There are certain conditions and circumstances that may disqualify someone for having a total hip replacement:
- Individuals who are suffering an existing infection are immediately disqualified from this surgery.
- Individuals who suffer from severe osteoporosis might also be disqualified from surgery because the prosthetic joint components cannot properly adhere to brittle bone, which increases risk of failure.
- Type 2 diabetes and obesity. These conditions would not disqualify an individual from surgery but they would put him or her at higher risk of complication. People who smoke are also at a 10-times higher risk of serious complications.
Recovery from hip replacement surgery
Full recovery from hip replacement surgery can take between three and 12 months, depending on several factors. Usually, younger, lighter and non-smoking individuals recover more rapidly, as well as those who are able to strictly adhere to the post-surgery rehabilitation exercise program.
During the recovery period, patients are normally told to limit extremes in the range of motion, such as bending or squatting deeply at the hip or crossing one leg far across the other.
It is also common for recovering patients to be instructed to use crutches to limit the amount of weight placed on the affected joint for up to six weeks so that the bone and surrounding muscle can sufficiently heal to support and stabilize the joint.
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