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  • Emily-Haf

What you need to know before having a hip replacement

A hip replacement is a major operation but, thanks to improvements in technique and technology, they’re more popular and effective than ever and can provide a vital solution for those suffering from chronic pain and immobility. Whether you’re considering surgery or currently recovering, here’s what Professor Paul Lee wants you to know...

How do you know if you need a hip replacement?

If you’re over the age of 50 and experiencing chronic hip pain or mobility limitations and have tried other more conservative treatments like medication, physiotherapy and lifestyle modifications, surgical intervention could be beneficial. At the same time, when hip pain hinders your ability to participate in activities you enjoy – such as exercising or other hobbies – it could be worth considering a hip replacement to regain an active lifestyle.

Difficulty walking, climbing stairs or performing routine tasks due to hip pain and limited range of motion may also be a sign that a hip replacement could restore mobility. Disturbed sleep caused by hip pain can also negatively affect your overall wellbeing. If pain interferes with your ability to get a good night’s rest, a hip replacement may help alleviate discomfort, too.

What are your options?

If you are over the age of 50, there are several options to consider, including a total hip replacement (THR), dual mobility ceramic-on-polyethylene and hip resurfacing. THR is the most common and widely performed hip replacement procedure. The ball component can be made of metal or ceramic, while the socket is made from ceramic or polyethylene. We don’t use metal on hips anymore – any decent surgeon won’t have done so for the last 15 years.

THR provides excellent pain relief, restores joint function and allows for a wide range of activities. It’s a suitable option for women over 50 with arthritis, hip fractures or other hip conditions that haven’t responded to conservative treatments.

Meanwhile, dual mobility hip replacements are designed to enhance stability and reduce the risk of dislocation. This type of prosthesis consists of an additional bearing surface within the socket component, allowing for greater range of motion before dislocation occurs. They are ideal for active patients. Hip resurfacing is a procedure where only the damaged surface is replaced. However, it’s not recommended for women over 50. One reason being that women have smaller bones and a different bone structure to men, which can make the procedure more challenging. Women also tend to have higher rates of osteoporosis and lower bone density, which can increase the risk of implant failure and complications.

How to know which is right for you?

It’s essential to have an open and honest discussion with your surgeon to determine the best course of treatment. First, the condition of your bones is an important consideration. A cement prosthesis may be preferred if your bone quality is compromised. At the same time, prostheses that offer durability and longevity may be more suitable for those who remain active. By understanding the benefits and potential risks associated with the different options, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and maximise the potential for a successful outcome.

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