You have options when it comes to hip pain
If you’re currently suffering from hip pain brought on by arthritis or other causes, treatment options are available to help you get back to living an active lifestyle. Below, you’ll find general information on hip pain and the options available to help you get back on your feet.
Total hip replacement
The first step when making the decision about hip replacement is to meet with your surgeon to see if you are a candidate for total hip arthroplasty (THA). Your surgeon will take your medical history, perform a physical examination, and X-ray your hip. Even if the pain is significant, and the X-rays show advanced arthritis of the joint, the first line of treatment is nearly always non-operative. This includes weight loss if appropriate, an exercise regimen, medication, injections, or bracing. If the symptoms persist despite these measures, and with corroborating X-rays, then you may consider total hip arthroplasty.
The decision to move forward with surgery is not always straightforward and usually involves a thoughtful conversation with yourself, your loved ones, and ultimately your surgeon. The final decision rests with you based on the pain and disability from arthritis influencing your quality of life and daily activities. Those who decide to proceed with surgery commonly report that their symptoms keep them from participating in activities that are important to them like walking, taking stairs, working, sleeping, putting on socks and shoes, sitting for long periods of time, etc., and that non-operative treatments have failed.
What is an anterior hip replacement?
An anterior hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which damaged bones in your hip joint are replaced with an artificial hip (total hip arthroplasty). Also known as minimally invasive or muscle-sparing hip arthroplasty, the goal of this procedure is to reduce muscle damage and speed recovery.
Surgeons traditionally perform hip replacement surgery by making an incision behind (posterior approach) or on the side (lateral approach) of the hip. Today, it has become more common for surgeons to make the incision in the front of the hip - this is called an anterior approach or anterior hip replacement.
An anterior approach has become more popular because it’s less invasive than posterior and lateral approaches. Entering your hip from the front causes less damage to surrounding muscles and tendons, which may lead to a faster recovery as well as:
• Less muscle trauma
• Less pain
• Less limping
• Shorter hospital stay
• Decreased chance of hip dislocations
Why should one need a total hip replacement with anterior approach?
If you have tried alternative options for hip pain, your physician may recommend a hip replacement. Hip replacements treat pain and damage from arthritis. In osteoarthritis, long-term wear-and-tear damages the joint. In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and tissue damage. Other reasons for getting a hip replacement include:
• Broken or injured hip
• Bone that has died because it did not get enough blood (avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis)
• Bone tumors
Total hip replacement with anterior approach is not an option for everyone. You may have other surgical choices, such as total hip resurfacing. Talk with your physician to see what makes sense for you.
Signs You May Need a Hip Replacement
The physicians on the medical staff at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery, Plano, TX, may suggest surgery if a patient is experiencing:
• Pain that does not respond to conservative treatments such as medications and physical therapy, for six months or longer
• Hip arthritis that has been confirmed through X-ray
• Debilitating discomfort that prevents patients from sleeping, moving, or working
• Fractures or tumors in the hip
• Loose hip prosthesis
• Some hip fractures
This surgery is not recommended for patients with:
• A current hip infection
• Poor skin coverage around the hip
• Paralysis of the quadricep muscles
• Severe disease of the blood vessels of the leg and foot (peripheral vascular disease)
• Nerve disease (neuropathy affecting the hip)
• Severe limiting mental dysfunction
• Serious physical disease (terminal disease, such as metastatic disease)
• Morbid obesity (more than 300 pounds)