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.
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.
There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. People who benefit from hip replacement surgery often have:
An evaluation with an orthopaedic surgeon consists of several components.
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.
This will assess hip mobility, strength, and alignment
These images help to determine the extent of damage or deformity in your hip.
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.
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.
Several tests, such as blood and urine samples, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and chest x-rays, may be needed to help plan your surgery.
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.
You may be advised to donate your own blood prior to surgery. It will be stored in the event you need blood after surgery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many patients may also be evaluated by a specialist such a Cardiologist before the surgery.
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.