/ by Patrick W. O'Donnell, MD, PhD
Written by Dr. Patrick O’Donnell, an orthopaedic oncologist who treats bone cancer and also does reconstructive orthopaedic surgeries.
When patients have hip pain and other treatment options aren’t providing relief, the next step is often a hip replacement surgery.
Hip replacement surgery can drastically improve your mobility, offer pain relief and allow you to get back to a more active lifestyle. Although it might sound scary, hip replacement is one of the most common and effective surgeries in medicine today. In fact, it’s one of my favorite surgeries because my patients tend to do so well afterward.
So, who’s a candidate for hip replacement and what can you expect during the procedure? Let’s find out.
What is a hip replacement?
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the acetabulum of the pelvis (the socket) and the upper-end of the femur, called the femoral head (the ball). Hip pain is frequently caused by arthritis in the hip joint. When arthritis damages the cartilage between the two bones, it can create friction in the joint, damaging both the femur and pelvis.
During hip replacement surgery, your surgeon will remove the damaged parts of the femur and pelvis and insert artificial replacements that allow your joint to move smoothly.
Who should consider a hip replacement?
Hip replacement is usually recommended for patients who have hip pain despite having tried other nonoperative treatment options. For many patients with end-stage arthritis, a replacement might be the best option.
Not everyone is a candidate for hip replacement, however. If you’ve had a history of infection, blood clots or pulmonary embolism, hip replacement might not be right for you.
How long does the procedure take and what’s recovery like?
Usually between 45 minutes and an hour. Many patients are able to walk soon after their surgery, though most people require about three months of rehabilitation before the hip joint is fully recovered.
I hear old myths about people not being able to walk after a hip replacement surgery, but the truth is that it’s a much easier recovery than other surgeries, such as knee replacements. We expect each of our patients to make a full recovery and return to the activities they love with reduced pain.
We can help
What makes UK unique is our breadth of care for anyone with hip pain.
We offer hip preservation treatments for patients who aren’t ready for a hip replacement, but we also have a team of surgeons who can take care of you, no matter what kind of surgery you need.
- Learn more about UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, which provides leading-edge treatment for a variety of injuries and conditions.
- Check out our Making the Rounds interview with Dr. O’Donnell, where he tells us why he has the best job in the world.