Let's Talk About Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is a very good procedure. Patients with chronic hip pain endure significant issues which become a disability and limit daily activities such as going to the grocery store, taking a walk, enjoying interaction with friends, grandkids, etc. With hip replacement surgery, patients can expect improvement related to pain and function which creates a better quality of life. 

Hip replacement, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a common orthopedic procedure where a surgeon removes damaged sections of the hip joint and replaces those sections with an artificial joint constructed of metal, ceramic and concentrated plastic. 

The artificial joint (implant) helps reduce pain, improve function and enhances quality of life. For many people suffering from chronic hip pain, who are unable to enjoy activities and have exhausted conservative treatments, the decision to meet with an orthopedic specialist and discuss hip replacement is a viable option. 

Many patients believe hip replacement involves an accident or traumatic event. Actually, damage to the hip joint can be caused by many factors; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis or a traumatic event like a hip fracture. 

Osteoarthritis is commonly known as wear-and-tear arthritis. It is a degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, most common from middle age onward. It causes pain and stiffness, especially in the hip, knee and thumb joints. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system. It produces a type of inflammation that can erode cartilage and inexplicit bone which can result in damaged or deformed joints. 

Osteonecrosis is a bone disease that may cause pain or limit physical activity and is most common in 30, 40 and 50 year-olds. Anybody can get osteonecrosis because it results from loss of blood supply to the bone. A bone without blood supply is a bone destined to collapse. 

A Hip Fracture is a break in the top quarter of the thigh bone (femur). Fractures tend to result from a fall, but can happen due to many reasons. Women are at a higher risk than men due to rate of falls and are more prone to osteoporosis. 

Of course, there is never a perfect time to have hip replacement surgery, but your body will make a point to send more powerful indicators if your timeline is sooner than later. When pain persists or worsens with walking, sleep is interrupted, stairs become an obstacle course or you begin to experience difficulty rising from a seated position, it may be time to start a discussion with an orthopedic specialist. 

There are some differences in technique many patients ask me about, specifically 'anterior vs. posterior' hip replacement. This anterior vs. posterior comparison refers to the type of incision performed during surgery – a hip replacement using either type of incision is basically the same procedure. Overall, patients do very well after hip replacement with either type of incision. If you trust your orthopedic specialist, you should let him/her decide what incision is best based on your examination and treatment plan. 

One of the most popular questions asked by patients is 'the duration/longevity' of a hip replacement. Ideally, we expect a hip replacement to last the rest of a patient's life, many times this is the case. The hope is with current technology, hip replacements performed today will outperform hip replacements from 10 years ago. 

If you suffer from hip pain and would like to discuss options with an orthopedic specialist, please feel free to make an online appointment or call 405.230.9270. We look forward to visiting with you. 

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