A Brief Outline of Hip Replacement Surgery and the Signs You Might Need it
Every year, hip replacement surgery is performed on more than 450 000 patients in the US alone. These signs could suggest you might also need this procedure. The hip is a ball and socket joint. The head of the femur fits neatly into a depression in the pelvic girdle known as the acetabular socket. A smooth cartilage coating protects each of the articulating surfaces, and the entire joint is enclosed by a membrane containing a viscous fluid that acts as a lubricant. Damage to the cartilage or the membrane due to disease or traumatic injury can lead to excessive frictional forces and erosion of bone, resulting in pain in the affected joint and a gradual reduction of mobility.
Osteoarthritis is the Most Common Reason to Perform a Hip Replacement
Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative illness that can affect most of the body’s joints but tends to be most commonly associated with the hips, knees and hands. While once encountered almost exclusively in patients aged 65 and over, orthopaedic surgeons report a growing incidence of this condition in younger people. A hip replacement may also be necessary following a fracture or in cases where some other disorder has led to abnormal bone growth.
What Does a Hip Replacement Involve?
Depending on the extent of the damage, either one or both of the articulating surfaces may require attention. Whether partial or total, the procedures involve removing the damaged surfaces and preparing them to support the appropriate prosthetic component. A portion of the femoral head is removed to accommodate the replacement ball, and a metal cup forms the new lining for the acetabular socket. A plastic liner between them provides frictionless movement.
How Will You Know You Might Need a Hip Replacement?
There are several indications that this type of procedure may be necessary. If you exhibit one or more of the following, you should consider asking your doctor to refer you to an orthopaedic specialist.
1) You Have Chronic Hip Pain:
In practice, this might be due to overexertion and could clear up with a bit of rest. Sometimes the pain may persist and worsen, and over-the-counter painkillers don’t help. GPs generally adopt a conservative approach beginning with prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. Later your doctor may switch to steroid injections. However, at some stage, surgery will prove necessary.
2) Pain and Stiffness Make Routine Task Difficult:
Once you find that the pain and stiffness in your hip are interfering with everyday tasks like putting on your shoes and socks, walking and climbing stairs, or the affected leg can no longer bear your full weight, it could be time to enquire about a hip replacement.
3) Conservative Treatments Don’t Work:
Surgery may be the only viable option when painkillers are no longer effective or cause unpleasant side effects.
4) Tests Confirm Significant Joint Damage:
Physical damage requires physical repair work. Medication and physiotherapy can only alleviate symptoms.
5) Your Pain is Causing Emotional Stress:
Chronic pain frequently results in severe depression, especially when it persists for years. When your hip pain affects your mental health, it’s time for action.
Get Help From a Leading Hip Replacement Surgeon
Click here to learn about Dr Jan De Vos and the world-class services offered at the Wilgers Life Hospital orthopaedic department in Pretoria.