AP NEWS

Seven common myths about hip replacement

May 24, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report approximately 332,000 hip replacements performed annually in the U.S. It’s a procedure that improves hip function, relieves pain, and increases mobility. During hip replacement surgery, diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and are replaced with a prosthetic implant.

Prior to surgery, patients may choose using a cane or walker for stability, physical therapy, medication, and other measures prior to hip replacement therapy. Hip replacement surgery is recommended by physicians when other treatments do not relieve pain. Despite the success of hip replacement, there are several common misconceptions that prevent people with severe hip pain from seeking surgery.

Myth #1: Hip replacement surgery should be put off as long as possible.

Many people delay having hip replacement surgery because they believe having the procedure will prevent them from engaging in their usual daily activities and from living a fulfilling life. The fact is that the older you get and the longer you put off having surgery, the more difficult it is to recover from the surgery. While you wait to get the procedure, your already damaged joints place stress on the remainder of your body, and you may become weaker and deconditioned. In most cases, a person’s quality of life is lessened much more by waiting to get the surgery than by having it sooner.

Myth #2: No one under a certain age should have hip replacement.

Hip replacement is most often associated with people over 50. While it may be true that hip joints tend to deteriorate with age, anyone with severe or persistent hip pain can be a candidate for hip replacement surgery at any age. In past decades, orthopedic surgeons would be hesitant to perform the procedure on younger patients because the prosthetic would only last 20 years or less. But advancements in technology, including better quality prosthetics and improved surgical techniques, have made hip replacement safer and more effective than ever. Although younger patients may require a second surgery at some point in their lives, a second hip replacement is not needed in most cases.

Myth #3: Hip pain is just a part of aging you have to deal with.

There are very few sources of pain that simply have to be tolerated in this day and age. It may be true that osteoarthritis is a common part of becoming older, but there’s no reason for a person to continue to suffer with lifelong hip pain. When pain medications and cortisone injections fail to provide relief, total hip replacement surgery can completely alleviate hip pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Myth #4: You won’t walk for weeks following hip replacement surgery.

This may have been true years ago, but advances in hip replacement surgical techniques and medication have made it possible for many hip replacement surgery recipients to walk the very same day after undergoing the procedure. Most patients are cleared to drive within two to three weeks. Full recovery and physical therapy typically take between three and six months.

Myth #5: Those with severe hip arthritis cannot get a hip replacement.

The fact is that those with severe hip arthritis are ideal candidates for hip replacement, as osteoarthritis is the most common cause of hip joint deterioration. Other causes may include broken bones, tumors, and injury. Only in cases of extremely poor health do most orthopedic surgeons decide to not perform hip replacement.

Myth #6: Hip replacement done with anterior approach is the best.

You may have heard that doing the hip replacement from the front is best. This is not the case at all. Newer approaches from the top and slightly behind are just as good and often are less risky for fracture, infection, and nerve injury.

Modern techniques allow fast recovery from any surgical approach!

Myth #7: Every hip replacement surgery has complications.

As with any surgery, there are risks with hip replacement, but with technological and medical advances, complications are rare. In the past, hip dislocation, blood clots, and infection were recognized as risks following surgery, but new surgical techniques, rapid recovery protocols, and improved prosthetic design and materials have made hip replacement surgery safer and more effective than ever.

If you’ve been putting off hip replacement surgery because of these or any other misconceptions, I can help you make an informed decision about whether hip replacement is right for you.

David Edelstein, M.D., specializes in orthopedics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic - Berthelsen Main Campus and Tanglewood.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press.All rights reserved.