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Is It Time for Hip Replacement Surgery?

Every year, over 300,000 Americans have complete hip replacement surgeries. 90% of those people feel better and return to their normal activities within the weeks or months following the operation. Hip replacement surgery should be considered when nonsurgical treatments haven’t helped to improve any pain or symptoms.

If you are experiencing hip problems, talk to your primary care doctor and they can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon. The orthopedic surgeon can help find the right treatment plan for you and will determine if you should or shouldn’t undergo hip surgery.

What is a hip replacement?

Hip replacement, also known as arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove the diseased parts of the hip point and put new, artificial parts (prosthesis) in their place. The goal of hip replacement is to increase mobility and function while relieving pain. Most of the new hip joints will last for 10 to 20 years, but some can last even longer without loosening. This ultimately depends on how much stress you put on the joint and how well your new joint and bones mend.

Should I undergo hip surgery?

Surgery isn’t always going to be your first option, and it shouldn’t be. Many patients who end up getting surgery have tried various treatments before that haven’t seemed to work. These treatments can include anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen or naproxen, cortisone shots, physical therapy, and crutches or walkers.

Many people begin to consider surgery when the pain begins to affect their life and comes in the way of the things they love to do. If it hurts to walk, go up or down the stairs, or do other day-to-day activities, there might be a problem with your joints. If the pain persists, it may be time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

It is extremely common for those with osteoarthritis in the hip joint to have surgery. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, an injured hip joint, or bone tumors breaking down the hip joint, your doctor might suggest hip replacement surgery.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, visit your doctor or your orthopedic surgeon to find a treatment plan that’s right for you:

  • Persistent or recurring pain
  • Hip aches during and after exercise
  • Loss of mobility
  • Medication and canes/walkers aren’t helping
  • The hip stiffens up from sitting for long periods
  • The pain interferes with your sleep
  • Decreased hip motion
  • Stiff or swollen hip
  • Difficult to walk or climb stair
  • Difficult to sit or stand
  • You experience morning stiffness for under 30 minutes
  • Joint feels like it’s grating
  • You’ve experienced a previous hip injury

What are some other treatment options?

Most doctors will want to try other treatment options before heading straight to surgery, unless it is a severe case. Some common treatments include exercise, walking aids, and medication. To strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint, the doctor might recommend an exercise program. Canes, walkers, or other walking aids can help remove some of the stress on the hips and can help delay or even avoid surgery altogether.

If you have hip pain without inflammation, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain medication. However, if you are experiencing hip pain with inflammation, your doctor might recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin and ibuprofen. In some cases, a stronger pain medication may be necessary to help regulate pain.

How can I prepare for surgery?

The best way to prepare for surgery is to ask your doctor questions. Your doctor will be able to tell you about the before, during, and after process for the procedure. You can even ask your doctor for some pamphlets to help you understand everything. Here are a few of our tips you can do before going into surgery that will make life after surgery a little easier for you:

  • Discuss what you can and can’t do with your doctor before surgery to help you prepare for post-surgery
  • Make sure you have someone to pick you up and drop you off
  • Find someone to help you get around your home for a week or two following surgery
  • Place all the things you may need easy access to near your bed (phone, phone charger, remote, medicine, tissues, etc.)
  • Stock up on frozen or canned foods that are easy to make

Most people who undergo surgery do not spend more than 1 to 4 days in the hospital following the procedure. However, the total recovery time is about 3 to 6 months – depending on the type of surgery, your overall health, and the success of your rehabilitation.

Visit the South Texas Spinal Clinic

If you are suffering with hip pain and live in the San Antonio area, you have access to the top spine doctors at the South Texas Spinal Clinic. With three convenient locations around the city, you have no excuse to continue living in pain! Our team is ready to help you on your journey to pain relief. Call the South Texas Spinal Clinic at (210) 614-6432 for more information.

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