The below lists a few frequently asked questions by patients and caregivers on hip replacement surgery as a treatment option for their condition. However, it is always best to speak to the orthopedic surgeon as well as other patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery to understand more. In the sections ahead, this website has Real life Success stories of other hip replacement patients as well as a section on how to effectively Talk to Your Doctor.
Who is a good candidate for hip replacement?
If the patient is feeling chronic, moderate to severe pain, which is limiting their everyday activities such as rising up from and sitting down on a chair, getting in and out of a car and tying and untying shoe laces, then the patient should go for a consultation. Usually, an X ray will be used to diagnose the pain. If the hip pain is being caused by severe osteoarthritis or hip avascular necrosis (AVN), hip replacement may help significantly.
However, if the patient’s condition hasn’t deteriorated significantly, then it is likely that the physician will first prescribe some more conservative options to reduce the pain. This may involve injections, pain killers and physiotherapy.
What is the right age for a hip replacement surgery?
It is more important to assess the patient’s overall state of health and readiness for the surgery rather than age. The current trend is that younger patients are being diagnosed with osteoarthritis or hip AVN and recommended hip replacement surgery. Keeping with these trends, the longevity, durability and flexibility of implants have improved significantly allowing younger patients to get back to life with less fear of a repeat surgery. The candidature for hip replacement surgery will be assessed based on need and not age.
What is the likely recovery and rehab timeline?
Immediately after the surgery, the patient will be wheeled into the recovery room. The patient may have to stay in the hospital for up to 5 days. It is likely that the patient will be allowed only limited movement and once in the hospital bed, pillows or a special device will keep the hip in the correct position. The orthopedic surgeon will prescribe medication to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Once the patient is discharged and sent home, the physiotherapist will help with exercises to aid his/her recovery. Full recovery may require anywhere from 3 months to 6 months but this varies from patient to patient based on the quality of their rehab program, the implant, the surgical technique used and the patient’s willpower.
It is usually recommended that the patient takes a month of leave of absence from work. After this, the orthopedic surgeon may permit one to go back to work as long as the job is not overly strenuous or more of a desk job. Usually patients with more vigorous jobs may require more time off from work. However, this also varies from patient to patient.
How many years does the hip replacement procedure and the implant last?
This varies from patient to patient depending on the surgical technique used, the quality of the implant and the patient’s lifestyle post-surgery. Most artificial hips, especially those using the latest advanced technologies last for over 15 years and enable the patient to carry out all sorts of activities even running marathons (see Mr Sivananda Ramnath’s Real Life Success story). However, studies suggest that for every year after the surgery, there is a 1% additional chance of requiring revision surgery.
Many people wait very long to have hip replacement surgery. Why?
There are many fears and myths surrounding hip replacement surgery. Some people deem it to “severe” an option due to a lack of awareness surrounding some of the aspects of surgery. Others may fear surgery, having read negative stories associated with the same. It is important to have a candid conversation with the orthopedic surgeon about the benefits and the risks associated with the surgery to assess whether it’s the right step.
How much does a hip replacement cost?
This should be discussed with the orthopedic surgeon and the hospital.