Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage in your joints, making it difficult to move freely due to joint pain and stiffness after you sit or lie down. Many people can manage their osteoarthritis pain with non-surgical treatments, like medicine, exercise, and physical therapy. But for some people, these treatment options may no longer be effective. If your hip pain is preventing you from doing your daily activities, you may be wondering if hip replacement surgery is right for you.
Should I Have Hip Replacement Surgery?
Deciding to have hip replacement surgery is a big decision. You need to weigh the benefits of the surgery with the risks and possible complications, including infection, revision surgery, or even worse — extreme pain. If you are not able to walk due to your pain and stiffness, then surgical options may be right for you.
If you decide that hip replacement surgery is an option, ask your doctor who would be a good fit for this surgery and discuss your goals with them. It is important to find someone who has experience performing the procedure for men and women, as well as someone who has successfully completed additional training in revision surgery. Discuss your options with a surgeon who specializes in hip replacement surgery.
Hip replacement surgery options
You can choose from several different types of hip replacement surgeries, including:
- Hip arthroplasty:
You can have this type of hip replacement if you are in very good physical condition. This surgery replaces the head end of the femur (thigh bone) with a metal stem. Then, the stem is attached to the bottom end of your thigh bone (the cups), and finally, your hip socket is replaced with a plastic or ceramic liner called an acetabulum. A variety of different materials for stems exists, allowing physicians to customize fit for each patient’s unique anatomy.
However, this requires a strong pelvis and injury-free hips — the strongest tend to do best with this type of surgery.
- Hip resurfacing:
This type of hip replacement surgery is especially suited for people who have had a previous hip fracture or dislocated bone in their hips. This type of surgery replaces the entire hip joint, including the femur and the socket where the ball and socket meet. This allows surgeons to keep your foot completely within your knee when you are on your feet.
The most common form of hip resurfacing is known as a femoral neck osteotomy (FNO). In this procedure, you don’t have an actual arthritic injury, but rather loose bone that needs to be stabilized. Your surgeon will make small cuts at specific areas where there are loose bones in your femur to stabilize it during surgery. This procedure is performed in the operating room using fluoroscopy to assure accuracy. No incision is made into the joint.
Your surgeon will remove the entire head of your femur, and replace it with an artificial ball and stem prosthesis that fits onto your thigh bone. The femoral neck is reshaped and fixed in position with the hip resurfacing prosthesis, which holds your thigh bone firmly into place. This is all held together with a new surface being created for the joint to fit into, such as solid metal or mobile ceramic on a metal frame; this piece lets the hip move in all directions like a normal hip.
The problem with hip resurfacing is that if the arthritic changes occur on the neck of the femur, there will be no way to create stability. In this case, you may need hip replacement surgery to replace the damaged joint.
- Hip replacement surgery is also an option and it requires a much bigger incision and a longer recovery time. This procedure is considered more invasive than hip resurfacing because it involves cutting into the joint; in some cases, surgeons will need to remove bone fragments from your hip joint in order to create space for prosthetic parts.
Learning about various orthopedic procedures can help you make an informed decision on which one is best for your condition. Try now our interactive tool to help you decide Should You Have Hip Replacement Surgery?