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SHOULD I HAVE MY ARTHRITIC HIP REPLACED ?
by Dr. Derrick Lousaing
That’s the most frequently asked question by both patients and their families which is directed to many different levels of health care professionals from nursing staff to various grades of medical staff. The question, unfortunately, obviously means that we have done a poor job of patient education on the subject.
It should be noted that not every arthritic hip requires replacement. Some patients may be low demand, limitedly mobile have metabolic bone disease or unfortunately faced with a terminal or severe medical conditions, which would make the insult of a major surgical procedure result in a less than optimal outcome.
In the majority of patients, however, the short answer is yes. If there is increasing pain and analgesic requirement, increasing loss of independence and function and increasing deformity of the involved joint and though it’s a major surgical procedure in 90-95% of the patients the operation is successful in alleviating all the presenting symptoms.
The procedure takes between one to two hours and can be done without the patient having to be put to sleep. Walking is achieved next day and the hospital stay is usually around two days. The requirements at home for the first two weeks involves assistance for toileting daily, addition of a raised toilet seat and a walker for early ambulation, self exercises , ice application regularly and physiotherapy which is based on the patient’s progress. Once the procedure is completed, the constant nagging ache of arthritis goes and recovery begins. Most patients will achieve enough comfort to
assess the early result of the procedure, usually as early as six weeks.
The major complications are limb-length discrepancy, scar pain, deep vein thrombosis and infection. These are all covered by perioperative techniques that are used to mitigate the possibility of any or all occurring and the overall incidence is extremely low.
Answering this question can also be achieved by having a conversation with a patient that has undergone the procedure. In most instances, success gives improved quality of life and independence that cannot be achieved by any other mechanism.
To help answer a patient’s concern consider talking with our Specialists for a frank and informative consultation.