Myths & Realities about Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is considered to be a successful treatment option for osteoarthritis and hip avascular necrosis. There may be over 67 million osteoarthritis patients by 2030. In India, hip and knee replacement procedures are growing by 15% year on year and are estimated to grow to 4 million procedures per year by 2030.  However, in spite of this, there are still many myths surrounding joint replacement surgery. Some common hip replacement myths are listed below:

Myth No. 1:

“My hip after replacement surgery will feel artificial and not natural.”

Reality: There have been many technological advances in implants over the years. There are hip  implants available today, which come in many different sizes specially tailored for the Indian patient to ensure that the patient receives a close fit.

Myth No. 2:

"I’m too young for a hip replacement.”

Reality: Both osteoarthritis and hip avascular necrosis are increasingly being diagnosed amongst younger populations. For younger patients, it is a common fear that they may have to go in for a repeat surgery again when the implant wears out. However, there have been much advancement, in implant designs, increasing their longevity and durability considerably reducing the need for a repeat surgery.

Myth No. 3:

“Surgery is the absolute last option and I should wait as long as possible.”

Reality: Delaying surgery unreasonably may significantly decrease the quality of life of a patient, who is unable to move and feels chronic moderate to severe pain. Osteoarthritis is degenerative implying that the more the joint gets diseased, the harder it will be to resume daily life post-surgery as well. If there is a patient with an advanced case of hip avascular necrosis, then hip replacement surgery is likely to be his/her only option.

Myth No. 4:

“All hip implants are the same.’’

Reality: The orthopedic surgeon will assess the right hip implant option for the patient based on his/her age, weight and lifestyle post-surgery. There are many materials, designs and sizes of hip implants available. The patient, caregiver and orthopedic surgeon will together be able to come up with the best fit for the patient.

Myth No. 5:

“Hip and joint replacement implants are only good for about 10 years.”

Reality:  On an average, the hip implants of a hip replacement patient can last between 15 to 20 years. With the current advances in technology and quality of implants, this may go up to 30 years. Moreover, the quality of artificial hips nowadays are so superior that one often talks about the artificial hip being a “forgotten hip”.

Myth No. 6:

“Exercise and sporting activities isn’t possible after joint replacement surgery.”

Reality:  This is completely untrue. The ease and the degree to which the patient can use his/her hip post-surgery depends on several factors such as the quality of the surgery, the post-surgery rehab regime and the quality of the artificial implant. Regular exercise and low impact activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are not only feasible but a must post-surgery. The website’s real life success stories showcase examples of patients like Mr Ramnath running marathons as well.