Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a common procedure aimed at relieving pain and improving mobility in individuals with severe hip joint damage. There are an estimated 450,000 hip replacement surgeries performed each year in the U.S., but not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure. Determining who is a suitable candidate for hip replacement involves various factors related to the patient’s health, lifestyle, and the severity of hip joint deterioration.
Candidates for hip replacement surgery typically experience persistent hip pain that significantly affects their daily activities despite conservative treatments such as medications, physical therapy or assistive devices. The pain may interfere with walking, sleeping or simple tasks like putting on shoes and socks.
Contributing Medical Conditions
The primary indication for hip replacement is usually osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage covering the hip joint’s ball-and-socket structure to wear away. Other conditions that may warrant hip replacement include rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply), hip fractures or certain hip deformities.
Is Age a Consideration?
Age is not necessarily a determining factor for hip replacement candidacy. Instead, the focus is on the individual’s overall health and the impact of hip pain on their quality of life. Younger individuals with severe hip joint damage who have exhausted non-surgical treatments may also be considered for hip replacement.
Determining Hip Replacement Candidacy
Before surgery, candidates undergo a comprehensive evaluation by their orthopedic surgeon. This evaluation includes a review of the patient’s medical history, physical examination, imaging tests (X-rays, MRIs or CT scans) and sometimes blood tests to assess overall health and rule out potential risks or complications. Good candidates for hip replacement surgery generally exhibit:
- Severe Hip Pain: Persistent and debilitating hip pain that limits mobility and interferes with daily activities.
- Reduced Mobility: Difficulty in walking, climbing stairs or performing routine tasks due to hip joint damage.
- Failed Conservative Treatments: Inadequate relief from pain and limited mobility despite attempting non-surgical interventions like medications, physical therapy or assistive devices.
- Hip Joint Damage: Evidence of significant joint deterioration, seen through imaging tests, indicating severe arthritis, fractures or other conditions affecting the hip joint.
Factors that may affect candidacy for hip replacement include:
- Overall Health: Patients with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes or infections may need careful assessment and management before surgery.
- Weight: Obesity can increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. Weight loss may be recommended before the procedure can be performed.
- Lifestyle: Active individuals seeking to return to high-impact activities may need guidance on the limitations and risks associated with such activities post-surgery.
It is crucial for individuals considering hip replacement surgery to discuss their expectations, concerns, and potential risks with their physician or orthopedic surgeon. Understanding the procedure, its potential benefits and the recovery process can help patients make informed decisions regarding their treatment options.
Good candidates for hip replacement surgery typically experience chronic hip pain, reduced mobility and have exhausted non-surgical treatments for hip joint damage. An assessment by an orthopedic surgeon, considering overall health and lifestyle factors, helps determine whether hip replacement is a suitable option to alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for individuals with debilitating hip conditions. To determine if you may be a good candidate for hip replacement surgery, contact our team at Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists.
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