Hip replacement surgery is a fairly common procedure; the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases cites research that more than 330,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed annually in the U.S. Still, if you live with severe pain due to arthritis or other hip joint damage, determining when surgery is truly necessary can be challenging. According to the NIAMS, if you meet the following criteria, hip surgery may be the optimal choice.
Your Hip Problems Affect Your Daily Life
If pain and immobility resulting from a hip problem are interfering with your daily activities, it may be time to think about surgery. To evaluate how significantly your hip problems are affecting you, consider the following questions:
- Is discomfort or limited mobility restricting necessary daily activities, such as working, traveling, or performing self-care routines?
- Is your hip condition producing other physical issues by preventing you from exercising or placing extra stress on other joints?
- Is chronic pain causing problems such as sleep loss, depression, or anxiety?
If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes, you should consider speaking with a doctor about hip replacement surgery.
Other Treatments Fall Short
Surgery is typically considered a last resort, and most doctors will encourage alternate treatments first. A doctor might as you to try performing exercises and stretches, taking anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medications, using assistive devices, and making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight. Sometimes, these measures can alleviate pain or restore mobility enough for an individual to resume a more normal lifestyle. If, however, your condition does not respond to these treatments, surgery may be your last realistic option.
Even if you meet the above criteria, it may not be the right time for you to have hip surgery. A medical professional will need to evaluate your present health and the potential risks of surgery to determine whether surgery is currently the best option. If you have an infection or another health condition that should clear up, waiting for surgery may be necessary. If you have certain chronic conditions, you may not ever be considered a good candidate for invasive surgery. In this case, a doctor can help you evaluate other means of managing the condition.
If you are questioning whether you’ve reached the point where hip surgery is necessary, meeting with a medical professional is an important next step. After all, you probably would not contemplate surgery if your condition and its effects were still manageable and easy to live with. It’s also important to do your research and see what other patients’ experiences are in regards to a hip replacement. Still, a doctor can help you evaluate whether you’ve exhausted other treatment options and, if so, whether surgery is the best choice for you at this time.