Hip Arthritis: Considering Hip Joint Replacement

Hip arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis, which arises from various underlying causes. However, all cases of hip arthritis have one factor in common and that is cartilage loss in the hip joint. This results to the bones rubbing against each other and causing more damage to the joint. Unfortunately, hip arthritis usually progresses once it begins but the degree of immobility and pain differ from one patient to another.

Treatment of hip arthritis may be either non-surgical or surgical depending on certain factors such as the patient’s age and symptoms and the degree of hip joint damage. The doctor may also recommend combining several treatment approaches be combined. Treatment of hip arthritis without the need for surgery includes weight loss, taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as naprosyn and ibuprofen, and activity modification. These non-surgical methods help lessen pain and improve mobility. Beware of some claims of the benefits of “nutraceuticals” such as glucosamine supplements in treating hip arthritis because there is no strong evidence that support their effectiveness and they are not FDA regulated.

When it comes to surgical treatment of hip arthritis, the options are osteotomy, wherein the surgeon cuts the bone to re-align the hip joint and total hip arthroplasty (THA), which means hip joint replacement.

THA is the more common surgery used to treat hip arthritis. The patient together with the doctor will determine if THA is the best treatment option. Many patients are willing to explore THA for the chance to regain their ability to do their favorite recreational activities. Another strong motivation for hip arthritis patients is the intense pain caused by the disease, especially during the night. Obviously, THA is not the ideal treatment for everyone with hip arthritis. There are those who are willing to give up the activities that cause them pain or rely on pain-relieving approaches.

However, an increasing number of hip arthritis patients are considering THA because of the availability of brilliant surgeons and excellent techniques in the performance of this surgery. Moreover, the materials that the doctor will use in replacing the hip joint are 100 percent durable. These said developments in THA and the growing interest among the general population to remain active throughout life have encouraged many patients suffering from hip arthritis to try hip joint replacement.

THA is a highly effective and safe procedure performed with epidural anesthesia, which greatly lowers the risks of surgery-related complications and allows faster recovery. Usually, THA patients stay at the hospital for 5 days or less. Hip joint replacement usually has an excellent long-term outcome with 85 to 93 percent success rate over a period of 20 years.