Hip Replacement
March 7, 2017

Is Hip Replacement Surgery for You?

The decision to have hip replacement surgery should be a cooperative one made by you, your family, your primary care doctor, and your orthopaedic surgeon. The process of making this decision typically begins with a referral by your doctor to an orthopaedic surgeon for an initial evaluation.

 

Candidates for Surgery


There are no absolute age or weight restrictions for total hip replacements.

Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age. Most patients who undergo total hip replacement are age 50 to 80, but orthopaedic surgeons evaluate patients individually. Total hip replacements have been performed successfully at all ages, from the young teenager with juvenile arthritis to the elderly patient with degenerative arthritis.

 

When Surgery Is Recommended


There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. People who benefit from hip replacement surgery often have:

 

  • Hip pain that limits everyday activities, such as walking or bending
  • Hip pain that continues while resting, either day or night
  • Stiffness in a hip that limits the ability to move or lift the leg
  • Inadequate pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, or walking supports

 

The Orthopaedic Evaluation


 

An evaluation with an orthopaedic surgeon consists of several components.

 

Medical history

Your orthopaedic surgeon will gather information about your general health and ask questions about the extent of your hip pain and how it affects your ability to perform everyday activities.

Physical examination

This will assess hip mobility, strength, and alignment

X-rays

These images help to determine the extent of damage or deformity in your hip.
Other tests

Occasionally other tests, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, may be needed to determine the condition of the bone and soft tissues of your hip.

 


 

Preparing for Surgery

Medical Evaluation

 

If you decide to have hip replacement surgery, we will ask you to have a complete physical examination by your primary care doctor before your surgical procedure. This is needed to make sure you are healthy enough to have the surgery and complete the recovery process.

 

Tests

Several tests, such as blood and urine samples, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and chest x-rays, may be needed to help plan your surgery.

 

Preparing Your Skin

Your skin should not have any infections or irritations before surgery. If either is present, contact your orthopaedic surgeon for treatment to improve your skin before surgery.

 

Blood Donations

You may be advised to donate your own blood prior to surgery. It will be stored in the event you need blood after surgery.

 

Medications

Tell your orthopaedic surgeon about the medications you are taking. He or she or your primary care doctor will advise you which medications you should stop taking and which you can continue to take before surgery.

 

Weight Loss

If you are overweight, your doctor may ask you to lose some weight before surgery to minimize the stress on your new hip and possibly decrease the risks of surgery.

 

Dental Evaluation

Although infections after hip replacement are not common, an infection can occur if bacteria enter your bloodstream. Because bacteria can enter the bloodstream during dental procedures, major dental procedures (such as tooth extractions and periodontal work) should be completed before your hip replacement surgery. Routine cleaning of your teeth should be delayed for several weeks after surgery.

 

Urinary Evaluation

Individuals with a history of recent or frequent urinary infections should have a urological evaluation before surgery. Older men with prostate disease should consider completing required treatment before having surgery.

 

Cardiology Tests

Many patients  may also be evaluated by a specialist such a Cardiologist before the surgery.

 

Social Planning

Although you will be able to walk with crutches or a walker soon after surgery, you will need some help for several weeks with such tasks as cooking, shopping, bathing, and laundry.

If you live alone, your orthopaedic surgeon’s office, a social worker, or a discharge planner at the hospital can help you make advance arrangements to have someone assist you at your home. A short stay in an extended care facility during your recovery after surgery also may be arranged.