Guest Article — Facts to Consider Before Having Hip Replacement Surgery

Thanks to Julian Hills for today’s guest arti­cle on hip replace­ment surgery.

Facts To Consider Before Having Hip Replacement Surgery

How does some­one know they need hip replace­ment surgery?

The pain a per­son has may be the main indi­ca­tor of hip dam­age. Hav­ing a prop­er­ly func­tion­ing hip is essen­tial to com­plet­ing nor­mal activ­i­ties.

Hip implants are intend­ed to ease pain and restore mobil­i­ty. Peo­ple who expe­ri­ence symp­toms such as stiff­ness and excru­ci­at­ing pain so bad that it severe­ly lim­its their abil­i­ty to walk and com­plete their dai­ly rou­tines are often prime can­di­dates for hip replace­ment surgery.

Xray of artificial hip

Arti­fi­cial hip joint

Common Hip Replacement Considerations

Even though they are very suc­cess­ful and com­mon, hip replace­ment surg­eries (like all surg­eries) do have risks. Here are some things any­one think­ing about get­ting a hip replace­ment may want to con­sid­er:

Try­ing Oth­er Treat­ments: There are oth­er ways to treat hip dete­ri­o­ra­tion besides replace­ment surgery. Most med­ical experts sug­gest that you may want to exhaust oth­er options before opt­ing for a replace­ment. Exer­cise, med­ica­tion or walk­ing aids like canes and walk­ers may help you avoid or put off surgery.

Types of Surgery and Implants: Hip implants replace the ball and sock­et of the hip joint. Even though they are con­sid­ered to be per­ma­nent, it’s pos­si­ble that you could receive more than one in your life­time. That depends on your age, how bad your con­di­tion is, and the type of implant your orthopaedic sur­geon choos­es. Accord­ing to the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA), there are five types of hip replace­ment implants:

  • Met­al on Plas­tic (Poly­eth­yl­ene)
  • Ceram­ic on Plas­tic
  • Met­al on Met­al
  • Ceram­ic on Met­al
  • Ceram­ic on Ceram­ic

Dan­gers: Risks asso­ci­at­ed with hip replace­ments are the same risks asso­ci­at­ed with many oth­er surg­eries, includ­ing: reac­tions to anes­the­sia, heart attack, infec­tions, blood clots or exces­sive bleed­ing.

Risks unique to hip replace­ments include: hip dis­lo­ca­tion, bone frac­tures, infec­tions at the joints, nerve dam­age, or mal­func­tion­ing devices.

Peo­ple who expe­ri­ence swelling, pain, a change in their walk or grind­ing nois­es more than three months after surgery may want to con­sult their health care provider.

Metal-On-Metal Controversies Make Headlines

There is con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing met­al-on-met­al hip replace­ments. Despite the inher­ent risks of all implants, the FDA points out spe­cif­ic con­cerns with these spe­cif­ic ones.

Some of the met­al com­po­nents of the implants can cause severe dam­age to the sur­round­ing bone and tis­sues. Also, the two met­al parts grind togeth­er, releas­ing debris into the blood stream, which can be tox­ic.

Two major hip man­u­fac­tur­ers recalled their met­al hip implants over these issues. The Stryk­er Cor­po­ra­tion and John­son & Johnson’s Depuy Orthopaedics unit recalled their met­al hips in recent years, and have faced legal trou­bles since.

DePuy, in fact, is the sub­ject of more than 10,000 law­suits and is report­ed­ly con­sid­er­ing a set­tle­ment that could cost the com­pa­ny more than $3 bil­lion.

Obvi­ous­ly, patients should dis­cuss these top­ics and oth­er con­cerns they may have with their doc­tor. Know­ing the ben­e­fits and risks of hip replace­ment surgery will help patients under­stand how it could affect the qual­i­ty of their lives in the future.

Julian Hills is a con­tent writer and blog­ger for Drug­watch. His jour­nal­ism career has tak­en him from news­pa­pers to local tele­vi­sion news sta­tions and even a 24-hour cable net­work in the South­east. Julian is a grad­u­ate of Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty.

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Fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tions in hip or knee replace­ment

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About Aaron Bynen

Aaron is a health conscious individual living in the Pacific Northwest.

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