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Are You Ready For A Hip Replacement?

Overview

Total hip replacement as a procedure, has been found to have a greater impact on the improvement in quality of life than nearly all other surgery. 

In the past patients were told that hip replacement surgery should only be pursued when they “could not stand the pain anymore.” Today that is no longer the case.  There have been great strides made in the techniques utilized to perform Total Hip Replacement, the anesthesia employed during the surgical procedure and with pain management protocols after surgery. These have all evolved to the point where a Total Hip Procedure can now be accomplished on an outpatient basis without the use of narcotics or opioids.

Signs and Symptoms

You may be ready to consider a Total Hip replacement if you are suffering from any of the following:

  • Hip pain interrupts or awakens you from sleep
  • You have pain with simple motions such as out of bed in the am or getting out of a chair
  • Pain inhibits activities of daily living such as walking, driving or getting in and out of your car
  • You can no longer engage in sports activities as you have in the past
  • You are routinely using a walking aid such as a cane or walker to
  • Less invasive treatments have not reduced pain

As a general rule, hip replacement surgery is considered when a hip problem significantly impacts your quality of life and conservative treatments such as activity modification, PT, anti-inflammatory medications and injections no longer offer you sustained relief.

As important as these factors are, they are not the only ones that should factor into your decision. You, your support team and your doctor should be involved in the decision making. This ensures that everyone’s expectations are aligned to achieving the optimal outcome for you, the patient.

Choosing a Surgeon

Seek out a surgeon with experience in total hip replacement surgery. As a general rule patients and facilities with higher volumes have better outcomes than those with lower volumes.

Your multispecialty surgical team, led by your orthopedic surgeon, including your primary care physician and medical specialists as well as your anesthesiologist, will advise you on your surgical options and assist you in determining the best path for optimizing you for your surgery and guiding you through the recovery period.

Once you decide that you are willing to explore a hip replacement as a treatment alternative, you should speak with an orthopedic specialist to outline your specific episode of care from the diagnosis through the actual intervention or surgery and the recovery. There should be a full disclosure of what the surgery and post-operative care will entail. The topics of discussion should include:

  • First and foremost, your surgeons experience with the procedure
  • Your diagnosis and the type of arthritis you have 
  • Which of your symptoms the surgeon will be addressing with the procedure
  • Understanding the procedure itself, which includes the approach to the hip. Whether it will be anterior, lateral or posterior. Understanding the basics of the procedure itself is key to your recovery.
  • Whether your procedure will be scheduled as an outpatient, or whether an admission to the hospital and hospital stay will be necessary 
  • Whether there will be activity restrictions after the surgery and for how long
  • The risks and complications of surgery should also be detailed. This step is necessary for you to be able to give what is called an informed consent to your surgeon for the surgery. This discussion should include but may not be limited to, the risk of infection, nerve and artery injury, blood clots, fractures, dislocation of the hip, leg length discrepancy and possible complications from anesthesia

If you are not satisfied with the information that you receive, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion from a qualified orthopedic surgical specialist. Working out these details in advance can pay off significantly in the long run since the journey to and through a total hip replacement is not a sprint and is better accomplished with greater peace of mind.

 

 

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