Orthopedics

When is it Time for a Hip Replacement?

An interesting fact: Many people who get a hip replacement say their only regret is they wish they had one sooner. When done for the right reasons, hip replacement surgery is low risk and provides excellent long-term pain relief. It can change your life for the better and allow you to get back to your favorite activities.

Often, hip replacements are needed due to arthritis. General wear and tear, heavy physical activity and genetics can play a role in arthritis developing in your hip joint. When arthritis is mild, it can be managed with anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. But once it advances, surgery is often the best option to reduce pain and improve mobility.

A common misconception is that you must wait to get a hip replacement until you are in your 60s or 70s. In the past, hip joint replacements wore out in 15-20 years. Today, materials are more reliable and last upward of 30 years. For younger patients, this means they might only need one revision surgery in their lifetime and older patients may not need one at all.

Many patients wonder when is the right time to consider hip replacement surgery. I tell my patients it is time to start thinking about one when hip pain affects your quality of life and conservative treatments, such as medication and physical therapy, are no longer working.

Prior to undergoing surgery, NorthShore University HealthSystem patients get a pre-operative health checkup. We ensure our patients are educated about the journey so they understand what will happen during surgery and recovery. Our goal is for everyone to go into the procedure confident and educated about what happens next.

Our minimally invasive approach helps preserve muscle with the least amount of disruption to the soft tissues and the joint. A typical hip replacement procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour. Most patients can go home the same day as the surgery. Patients who are older or have more significant health challenges are usually admitted to the hospital and stay for a night or two.

The goal is to get hip replacement patients up and moving soon after the procedure. Whether a patient goes home or stays in the hospital, we have them start working with a physical therapist on the same day as the procedure.

Patients often ask how much pain they should expect. Most patients have less pain compared with other types of joint replacement procedures. Half of our hip replacement patients do not use any opioids after surgery. Of the other half, 90 percent are off opioids by the end of the first week.

Recovery is different for everyone, but most people take between two and four weeks for the initial recovery. After that, most can begin going back to their normal activities. Within four to six weeks, most people are back doing their daily tasks.

NorthShore University HealthSystem has fellowship-trained hip and knee replacement surgeons who have experience with the most innovative techniques and implants. We couple that with a focus on collaborative care. It is not just a hip replacement – we see it as an opportunity to care for the whole patient. We make sure everything is taken care of, every step of the way. When you come to NorthShore, you can expect a positive outcome.

If you are suffering from hip pain, make an appointment online to learn more about your options or call 855-929-0100.