Why do people get hip replacement surgery?
The main purpose of hip replacement surgery (also called hip arthroplasty) is to restore the integrity of the ball-and-socket joint between the thigh bone and pelvis, typically in patients with hip arthritis. It is done to reduce persistent hip pain and/or disability that occurs when the hip is compromised.
Common diagnoses that may lead to hip replacement surgery
The most common diagnosis for hip replacement surgery patients is osteoarthritis (OA). OA develops when the smooth cartilage that normally cushions the hip joint deteriorates. Over time, this deterioration leads to pain and loss of the hip’s normal range of motion.
Besides osteoarthritis, other diagnoses that may warrant a hip replacement include:
- Post-traumatic arthritis (arthritis that results from a hip injury)
- Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis
- Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome
- Developmental hip dysplasia
- Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease
- Slipped capital femoral epiphysis
- Severe hip trauma (e.g., dislocation or fracture)
- Hip osteonecrosis
- Metastatic bone disease
Major hip replacement surgeries involve removing damaged cartilage and bone and replacing it with prosthetics. It is considered when multiple non-surgical therapies have been tried without success.
These non-surgical therapies include:
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid injection into the hip joint
- Physical therapy
- Using an assistive device, like a cane or walker
- Weight loss (if overweight or obese)
- Taking a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) if you have inflammatory arthritis
Some criteria to qualify for a hip replacement surgery
There are no formal criteria for determining who is a proper candidate for a hip replacement.
Instead, surgery is a last resort option. It is recommended when patients continue to have hip pain and/or difficulties performing daily activities despite trying various non-surgical treatments for several months or more.
You may be a candidate for a hip replacement if any of the following apply:
- You have hip pain that keeps you awake or awakens you at night.
- Hip pain limits your ability to get up from a chair, put on shoes and socks, climb stairs, or get in and out of a car.
- The pain makes it less possible to engage in simple activities that give you pleasure, such as walking, shopping, or swimming.
As important as the above factors are, they are not the only ones that need to be taken into account when considering a hip replacement. While an often life-changing procedure in terms of comfort and quality of life, you and your surgeon will need to discuss the potential risks of the surgery in your case.
Additionally, your overall health, including any conditions that may contraindicate surgery (e.g., having an active infection or heart failure), will need to be considered. Do you need hip replacement surgery abroad? Sign up for a plan on AwayDoc and our health advocate will set you up by matching you to a care facility, work with you to help process your visa, arrange your logistics and much more. Get started today.