Over 300,000 people receive hip replacement surgery each year in the United States, enjoying a procedure that reduces pain, improves mobility, and in general creates a positive impact on the recipient’s quality of life.
At Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, we’re familiar with the life-changing potential of joint replacement surgery. It’s one of our specialties. Still, any surgical procedure has its pros and cons, and it’s not always an easy decision to move forward.
Despite the amazing advances in hip replacement prosthetics, they still have a life expectancy, so timing is another factor to balance into your decision. It’s also important to understand why your hip joint may need replacement.
Joint replacement surgery, called arthroplasty, enjoys a great reputation with patients and surgeons alike. It’s one of the best ways to counter the effects of arthritic conditions by relieving pain and restoring function. Knee replacements are the most common, followed by hip procedures.
Degenerative conditions like arthritis erode natural cartilage, the tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet at a joint. When enough cartilage wears away, painful bone-on-bone contact makes it difficult to take a step.
Hip prosthetics incorporate metals, ceramics, and plastics to replace the socket and ball portions of the bones that meet at the hip.
Why your hip joint may need replacement
The decision to proceed with a hip replacement requires balancing a number of factors. There are some physical signs that it’s time for replacement as well as a few practical considerations. Reasons for replacement include:
Damage to the hip joint
If your hip is already damaged, surgery can eliminate the problem before it gets worse and complicates replacement surgery at a later date.
You’re in pain
Hip pain can make movement difficult. When your hip starts to hurt when you’re resting, the need for replacement becomes more urgent.
Pain medications begin to fail
Drug-based pain management plans carry their own risks. As your body starts to tolerate the medications, the same dosages tend to become inadequate. Increased amounts of a drug can raise the risk of side effects and drug dependency.
When your hip is too stiff to move easily or makes it difficult to lift your leg, hip replacement is your best option for recovery.
Is hip replacement right for you?
There’s sometimes a need to balance the timing of a hip replacement. Prosthetics have a life expectancy of between 10 and 20 years, though technology continues to evolve and it’s possible for your prosthetic to last longer.
A younger patient may choose for hip arthroplasty sooner because they may still be in robust health 20 years down the road. Older patients may want to delay surgery so they’re less likely to need a replacement prosthetic in the future.
To better understand how you’ll benefit from hip replacement surgery, consult with one of our doctors at Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. We have three locations, so contact the nearest by phone or online to schedule your visit today.