You can compare joints to a vehicle’s components – they both wear out over time. While proper care can extend the life of your joints, it doesn’t always prevent issues completely. For instance, your hips may wear out over time, even if you exercise and take care of yourself. When this occurs, it is time to see an orthopedic doctor for treatment options. While many treatments exist to help alleviate hip pain, one of the most effective treatments for severely damaged hip joints is hip replacement surgery.
So, let’s take a closer look at this procedure.
What is a Hip Replacement?
When you get a hip replacement, a surgeon removes all the damaged components of your hip joint and replaces them with artificial components. The surgeon installs prosthetic pieces comprised of medical-grade plastic, ceramic, or metal. The components could also consist of a mixture of these materials. The prosthetic pieces take on the role of the natural joint, allowing you to function once again as you did before the hip got damaged.
You can get either a partial or total hip replacement. With a partial hip replacement, you get to keep parts of the natural joint because they are not damaged. This, however, is only an option for certain patients who have damage confined to one area of the joint – not the entire joint.
Why Get a Hip Replacement
The biggest reason to get a hip replacement is to restore your quality of life and help you live life pain-free. A hip replacement procedure is performed to restore function, reduce pain, and increase mobility in the damaged joint. People who get hip replacement surgery have severe mobility issues as well as pain symptoms that keep them from doing daily or required tasks. In many cases, non-surgical treatments are not effective in relieving pain. These people often find their quality of life suffering due to the damaged hip joint. Once the damaged hip is replaced, mobility and function become easy and painless. Most people who get hip replacement surgery experience significant relief from symptoms and become more active than before.
Try Less-Invasive Procedures First
While joint replacement surgery is an excellent treatment option, it is not the only great option out there. Surgery is a big deal and should be reserved for when no other treatment works. Just because pain medications or corticosteroid injections aren’t working anymore doesn’t mean you need hip replacement surgery. For instance, some patients may benefit from a less invasive procedure, such as an osteotomy. With an osteotomy, the surgeon reshapes your hip bone to reduce pressure. Generally, this option is for people who are younger than 60 years of age and have joint damage solely on one side.
You should have a great working relationship with your orthopedic surgeon and discuss all treatment options available to you. Even though orthopedic surgeons perform surgery, it is certainly not the only treatment approach they use. You may want to try a less invasive procedure prior to turning to hip replacement, depending on your situation.
Like any surgical procedure, hip replacement has some risks. Fortunately, an experienced orthopedic surgeon will understand the risks involved and make every effort to ensure that you are an ideal candidate for this procedure and take every measure possible to mitigate the risks involved.
For instance, a common risk with hip replacement is blood clots. A blood clot may form in your legs when you’re not active as you’re recovering from the procedure. The real problem comes about when the blood clot breaks off and travels to other regions of the body where it can do damage. To mitigate this risk, you will be asked to stand up and start moving soon after surgery.
Another common risk is infection. To mitigate this risk, your surgeon will work with you to keep the surgery site clean and dry. You will also be taught signs of infection to look out for as you recover at home.
In rare cases, you could sustain nerve damage during the surgery. Fortunately, an experienced surgeon will know how to reduce this risk.
Some people return home the same day as a hip replacement, but this isn’t common. Most people remain in the hospital for one or two days for monitoring.
The surgeon will usually prescribe a blood thinner to take for a designated time after the procedure in order to reduce your risk of blood clots. In addition, your surgeon will refer you for physical therapy to optimize your recovery.
You’ll have restrictions after your surgery for the first several weeks. You can resume normal activities sometime between six to 12 weeks after surgery. However, you’ll have to wait until your doctor clears you at your follow-up appointment. During this time, you may also be able to return to work.
Finding the Right Orthopedic Doctors in Overland Park, KS for Your Hip Problems
If you are interested in learning about hip replacement surgery and whether it’s the right procedure for you, visit the experts at Midwest Orthopedics. We offer a range of solutions for hip problems, including surgical hip replacement. We have several practitioners with experience and a steady record for providing outstanding patient care.