If your hip has been damaged by progressive arthritis or an injury, simple activities like walking, getting in and out of a chair and putting on a pair of socks may be difficult and painful. You may even feel discomfort while resting.
There are treatment options available for a stiff and painful hip, such as medications, walking supports and physical therapy. But if these approaches are not effective, it may be time to consider hip replacement surgery. The procedure can help relieve pain, increase motion and help you get back to enjoying everyday activities.
Let’s break down the basics on hip replacement surgery, including the procedure, recovery, cost and choosing the best hip replacement surgeon for you.
What is hip replacement surgery?
Hip surgery is usually done when all other treatment options (such as medication, physical therapy, etc.) have failed to provide adequate pain relief. There are a number of different types of hip surgery, including broken hip surgery and labral tear surgery. In this post, however, we’ll focus on hip replacement surgery.
During hip replacement surgery, the doctor surgically removes a painful hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint made from metal and plastic components. This helps restore proper function in the hip joint and relieve pain, making walking, sitting, standing and bending over easier. The surgery usually lasts one to two hours, with prep and recovery in the operating room taking about another one to two hours.
Why get hip surgery?
The biggest reason patients choose to undergo hip replacement surgery is because their hip pain interferes with their daily life, and they have not been able to find relief from other treatment approaches. Patients who choose to have total knee replacement surgery often have one or more of the following conditions:
- Osteoarthritis: Also known as the age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis, osteoarthritis usually occurs in people aged 50 or older and often with a family history of the disease. When the cartilage cushioning around the bones wears away, the bones rub against each other, causing hip pain and stiffness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: The most common type of “inflammatory arthritis,” this auto-immune disease causes chronic inflammation and damage of the cartilage, which leads to pain and stiffness.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Following a serious hip injury or fracture, the cartilage may become damaged and lead to hip pain and stiffness over time.
- Avascular necrosis: When blood supply is reduced in the femoral head, the surface of the bone may collapse and lead to arthritis. This can occur after an injury to the hip such as a dislocation or fracture.
- Childhood hip disease: Some patients had hip problems as infants or children, which were successfully treated during childhood. However, their conditions still caused arthritis later in life because of stunted hip growth and damaged joint surfaces.
Who is a good candidate?
Patients who have hip damage from arthritis, trauma, or joint disease, and who experience moderate to severe hip pain that does not respond to other treatments may be good candidates for hip replacement surgery. While most patients who undergo total hip replacement are between ages 50 and 80, there is no absolute age or weight restrictions for the procedure. Total hip replacements have been performed successfully in patients of all ages. Orthopaedic surgeons generally make recommendations for surgery based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age.
What are the risks?
Like with any other surgery, there are associated risks that come with hip replacement surgery. Risks of surgery include:
- Blood clots that can be dangerous if they travel to the lungs, heart or brain. Doctors may prescribe blood-thinning medications to reduce this risk.
- Infection that can occur at the site of the incision and in the deeper tissues near the new hip. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics and rarely require surgery.
- Fractures to healthy portions of the hip joint may occur during surgery. Sometimes the fractures are small enough that they heal on their own, but larger fractures may require corrective surgery.
- Dislocation of the new hip may occur, particularly in the first few months after surgery. A hip brace can help keep the hip in the correct position.
- Loosening means the new joint may not become solidly fixed or may loosen over time, which can cause pain and may require additional surgery.
What is recovery time for hip surgery?
In general, hip replacement patients recover sooner compared to patients of other joint surgeries, like total knee replacement surgery. However, the interesting thing about hip surgery is that recovery can differ vastly from patient to patient. Some patients take up to six months to recover, while others may recover in just four weeks. Following the surgeon’s aftercare instructions can help speed up recovery time.
How much will it cost?
In the US, the average cost for a hip replacement surgery is between $30,000 and $45,000. Keep in mind that this amount can vary greatly, depending on an individual’s insurance coverage, number of days spent in the hospital, pre-existing conditions, surgical approach and implant materials, and unanticipated care or equipment needed. One way to reduce out-of-pocket costs is to choose a hip replacement overseas. Choosing a quality doctor abroad can help patients receive top of the line care, while paying up to 80% less for surgery.
How to choose a hip surgeon?
Choosing the right hip replacement surgeon for you can be confusing. Finding a surgeon who has the right certification and works in an accredited hospital, who has years of experience performing hip replacement surgery, and who you feel comfortable communicating with can be challenging.
At MedRepublic, we know that there are so many options to compare, and that not everyone has a deep budget. We’re dedicated to helping connect patients with the best hip replacement surgeons around the globe at an affordable price, and have been doing so successfully for 11 years. If you are considering hip replacement surgery and have questions on finding the right surgeon for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!