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A hip replacement is a surgery in which the diseased part of the hip joint is replaced with an artificial part called a prosthesis. If it involves the whole of the joint, it is called a total hip replacement. Hip replacements are the most common orthopedic surgery performed worldwide.

Common indications to do hip replacement surgery are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis and fractures. The purpose of the surgery is to improve mobility, relieve pain and restore the function of the hip joint.

Before choosing hip replacement surgery, the doctor usually recommends physical therapy, walking aids and medications as an initial treatment. These may prove very effective in some patients.

Who Is The Best Candidate For Hip Replacement?

The surgery is recommended on the basis of pain and disability, not age. How much a disease affects the quality of life of the patient will decide whether the surgery is necessary or not. Joint damage should also be evident in the radiological examinations.

Typically, hip replacement surgery is performed in a patient who:

  • Experiences a limitation of everyday activities like walking due to hip pain and stiffness
  • Has pain at rest and during sleep
  • Has a limited joint range of motion due to stiffness
  • Has not benefit much from medications, walking supports and physical therapy
  • Suffers from significant damage of joint tissue

After your complete evaluation, your doctor will discuss whether a hip replacement is the best treatment for you or not. This should be a cooperative and combined decision made by you, your family and your orthopedic surgeon. Talk to your doctor about every question you have in mind. 

Do not hesitate to ask anything you don’t understand.

What Is The Role Of Age?

Hip replacement surgery is being performed on all age groups successfully. There is no contraindication for any age. It is usually performed for juvenile arthritis in younger people and for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in older people. The decision of the surgery is made after the individual evaluation of every patient’s disability, pain and effect on quality of life. Age has a very limited role in deciding that.

In the past, hip replacements were only done on people over 60 years of age because the prosthetics could not bear stress for a long time and had to be replaced again. In addition, older people are typically less active, causing less of a strain on the implant than in younger people.

Currently available prosthetics can bear a huge amount of stress for a very long time and have a very high implant survival rate in any age group. So these implants are successfully used in patients of any age.  

The patient may be refused surgery if the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits. If you have mild to moderate pain with lesser effects on your quality of life, you may be asked to continue medications or physical therapy. The reason is that this surgery is a dangerous process itself and is associated with a lot of risks and complications. 

Patients and doctors should, therefore, weigh the pros and cons of surgery in detail before deciding on a treatment plan together.

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