The word 'arthritis' means 'inflammation of the joint.' Most people think of arthritis as the wearing away of cartilage in a joint -- this is the end result of inflammation within the joint. Over time, the inflammation can lead to cartilage loss and exposed bone, instead of a normal, smooth joint surface.
The most common type of hip arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is often referred to as "wear-and-tear" arthritis, and it results in the wearing away of the normal smooth cartilage until bare bone is exposed. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, and lupus arthritis.
Hip replacement surgery is performed when the hip joint has reached a point when painful symptoms can no longer be controlled with non-operative treatments. In a hip replacement procedure, your surgeon removes the damaged joint surface and replaces it with an artificial implant.
A total hip replacement is a major surgery, and deciding to have the surgery done is a big decision. Here are some signs to look for to help you decide if the time is right, or not right, for knee replacement surgery.
Treatment of hip arthritis should begin with the most basic options and progress to the more involved, which may include surgery. Not all treatments are appropriate for every patient.
Hip replacement is generally reserved for patients who have tried all of the other treatments and are still left with significant pain during normal activities. Patients who have occasional pain, are able to participate in athletic activities, or have not tried non-operative treatments are probably not ready for a hip replacement. Non-operative treatment options include:
Hip replacement surgery removes the damaged joint lining and replaces the joint surfaces with an artificial implant that functions similar to a normal hip. These implants will wear out over time, and hip replacements are done infrequently in younger patients because of the concern of the implant wearing out too quickly.
Hip replacement implants have been modified in order to provide the best possible functioning with long-lasting results. This effort to perfect hip replacement implants is constantly taking place. Some newer implants have promise, others may not turn out to be better.
When a hip replacement is performed, the bone and cartilage on the ball-and-socket hip joint is removed. This is performed using precise instruments to create surfaces that can accommodate the implant perfectly. An artificial hip replacement implant is then placed in to function as a new hip joint.
Hip replacement surgery has become quite common, but there are still risks. Fortunately, well over 90% of patients who undergo hip replacement surgery have good results.
You should have a thoughtful discussion with your doctor prior to hip replacement surgery and make sure to have your questions answered.
Potential risks of hip replacement surgery include:
Hip replacement surgery is usually very successful, but the success of the procedure is partly due to the rehabilitation period that follows the surgery. For patients to expect a good result from hip replacement surgery, they must be an active rehab participant.
Rehabilitation after hip replacement begins immediately. Patients will work with a physical therapist as soon as the surgical procedure has been performed. The emphasis in the early stages of rehab is to maintain motion of the hip replacement and to ensure that the patient can walk safely.