Hip arthritis is thought to affect 1 in 4 Americans. There are many causes of hip arthritis including genetics, wear and tear with age, previous trauma, hip dysplasia and other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The hallmark symptoms are pain in the groin, thigh and buttock. Hip arthritis leads to limited and painful hip range of motion. When patients develop hip arthritis, it often becomes difficult to do simple activities such as getting out of a seated position or even tying ones shoes. Bearing weight thru the affected hip becomes very difficult and painful as well. Patients often limp secondary to hip arthritis.
The diagnosis is made by regular X-rays taken in the doctor’s office. Rarely, an MRI is necessary. X-rays will reveal loss of the cartilage between the ball and socket. Over time, as the cartilage wears out, the bones will begin to rub against one another. There is no cure for hip arthritis. We simply try to manage the symptoms. The common non-surgical options include anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy and weight loss, non-impact aerobic exercise such as water therapy, and occasionally steroid injections. If the patient has exhausted all of the non-surgical options, and if they are candidates based on X-rays and symptoms, then we consider hip replacement surgery. Hip replacement is a surgery whereby we replace the ball and socket and create a new prosthetic joint. By removing all of the arthritic bone and cartilage, we can remove the pain. By providing a new joint we can improve the patient’s hip range of motion and function. Hip replacement surgery takes about 90 minutes to perform.
After surgery, patients are admitted to the new Joint Replacement Center at Summit Medical Center. While admitted to the hospital, the patient’s postoperative pain will be managed, patients receive physical therapy and any chronic medical problems will be managed by our multidisciplinary team. Most hip replacement patients remain in the hospital for 3 days. After the hospital stay, patients are either discharged home or to an inpatient rehabilitation center for more therapy. Moving forward with hip replacement surgery is a big decision. We believe a patient is a good candidate if their X-rays reveal significant hip arthritis AND if a patient has hip/groin pain that significantly affects their quality of life and they have failed a trial on non-surgical treatment. In our experience, total hip replacement can be a very positive life changing operation that can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life.