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When Should I Consider Hip Replacement Surgery?

When Should I Consider Hip Replacement Surgery?

Your hip has been bothering you for a while, and you can’t seem to shake the pain. Though it may be tempting to hold out a little longer and hope that your symptoms will resolve on their own, ignoring the warning signs that you need hip replacement surgery is doing more harm than good. 

But how are you supposed to know when your hip pain is more than just a daily discomfort?

Here, our team of specialists at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group takes the guesswork out of your hip pain and shows you some of the telltale signs it’s time to consider surgery

1. Your hip pain is chronic and severe.

Hip pain can cause chronic, severe pain, and it may even trigger referred pain in other areas of your body, including your thigh and knee. If you have to regularly take pain medication, if your pain keeps you awake at night, or if your pain isn’t relieved by rest, it may be time to consider replacing the joint.

2. Pain isn’t your only symptom.

Pain isn’t the only indicator that your hip needs to be replaced. The inflammation that stems from joint damage in your hip can also lead to severe stiffness that makes it difficult to walk or bend and lift your legs.

3. You can’t get through your daily routine.

Pain in and of itself is bad enough, but in many cases, it prevents you from living a normal life. Hip pain can make even the simplest tasks, such as putting on your socks, difficult or impossible. When that’s the case, we often recommend a hip replacement.

4. Nothing else has worked.

One of the greatest warning signs that you need hip replacement surgery is that you’ve failed to find relief from other treatments. If conservative measures like physical therapy, injections, and medication haven’t effectively reduced your pain, we may recommend surgery.

5. You have significant joint damage.

There are many reasons why your hip may be hurting. One of the most common is osteoarthritis, which is a type of arthritis that refers to the gradual wearing down of the cartilage in your joints. 

In many cases, you can manage and treat osteoarthritis conservatively. However, if arthritis in your hip joint has progressed and the joint damage is irreversible, surgery may be the best treatment option. 

Another condition that may require hip replacement surgery is osteonecrosis. This occurs when there isn’t enough blood flow to the ball portion of your hip joint, causing the bone to collapse and deform. Osteonecrosis can develop after a severe dislocation or fracture, or if you have been on certain medications.

What to expect from hip replacement surgery

Hearing you need hip replacement surgery can be overwhelming, but we walk you through every step to make sure you feel confident and prepared before your procedure. Here’s what you can expect.

Before surgery

In the days leading up to your surgery, we may ask that you stop taking certain medications and refrain from smoking. You may also need to avoid eating or drinking before your surgery to avoid potential complications from anesthesia. 

During surgery

On the day of your surgery, you get dressed in a hospital gown before we start the preoperative process. Before we begin, the anesthesiologists administer a spinal block or general anesthesia to keep you completely comfortable.

The first step in hip replacement surgery is an incision over the affected hip, and then dissection through the layers of tissue. Then, we carefully remove the diseased and damaged bone and cartilage. Your doctor replaces the old socket and inserts a metal stem into the top of the thigh bone, which we then top with a replacement ball. 

After surgery

Once your procedure is over, you rest comfortably in a recovery area until your anesthesia wears off. Our staff monitors your vitals and pain levels, administering postoperative care as needed. 

We also help you transition from hospital to home with a few care instructions, including:

Most patients reach full recovery after three months, with the most significant improvements developing over the first year after surgery. 

Although your new hip allows you to live a more active, pain-free life, some activities, such as high-impact sports, may be too strenuous for your artificial hip joint. We recommend opting for activities that don’t put as much stress on your hip — think yoga, swimming, golfing, and bicycle riding. 

If you’d like more information, or if you suspect that you might need hip replacement surgery, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at any of our five conveniently located offices.

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