Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Replacement
- What is hip replacement?
- Who should have a hip replacement?
- Is there an alternative to hip replacement?
- Should my hip replacement be cemented?
- How long is the hospital stay?
- How long is recuperation?
- Will I need a blood transfusion?
- What is the success rate?
- Are there complications?
- What about pain?
- What is the cost?
What is hip replacement?
It is a metal and plastic covering for raw, arthritic bone ends. It replaces cartilage that has worn away over the years. Hip replacement can eliminate pain and allow you to move easily with less discomfort.
Who should have a hip replacement?
When arthritis hip pain severely limits your ability to walk, work, or perform even simple activities, hip replacement should be considered.
Is there an alternative to hip replacement?
Hip replacement is only recommended after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. It is not likely that anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone injections will give you the same long term relief that hip replacement will.
Should my hip replacement be cemented?
Hip replacements are successfully performed with all cemented components as well as with a combination of uncemented and cemented components. Your surgeon will discuss which technique is best for you.
How long is the hospital stay?
The average hospital stay for a hip replacement patient is around 3 days. In some cases, fixing one hip reduces the stress on the other hip, thus giving another two or three years if the arthritis is not too advanced. Each individual case is different.
How long is recuperation?
Recovery varies with each person. You will use a walker for approximately 4 weeks after the operation. You can drive a car in 2-4 weeks. Most people gradually increase their activities and play golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard, or bowl in 12 weeks. More active sports, such as singles tennis and jogging are not recommended.
After discharge, there is usually no need for a nursing home. Some patients who live alone may require a short stay at a rehab center for a few days after they leave the hospital. This will depend on how you progress in the hospital, and keep in mind that healing and recovery times vary with each person.
Will I need a blood transfusion?
The need for blood transfusions after hip replacement surgery depends greatly on very individualized factors. The majority of hip replacement patients do not require a transfusion after surgery. Some patients may want to donate their own blood prior to surgery for use after surgery. Your surgeon will be happy to discuss these issues with you.
What is the success rate?
Hip replacement surgery is recognized as a miracle of modern surgery. Most orthopedic experts consider hip replacement to be the best method of handling arthritis in the hip. Hip replacements have literally put hundreds of thousands of Americans back on their feet and allowed them to enjoy their golden years.
Are there complications?
As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications after hip replacement surgery. However, they are quite rare… driving on an Interstate highway is probably more dangerous. To reduce the risk of infection, we take special precautionary measures in the operating room, and use powerful antibiotics. Our personnel are limited to fully trained and experienced nurses and technicians.
What about pain?
Thanks to advances in medication technology, we are able to keep you very comfortable after surgery. After surgery, any temporary discomfort does not compare to the pain of arthritis endured by most people in months and years before surgery.
And because hip replacement patients are not “sick,” you will not be treated as such. You will wear casual clothing after surgery, not hospital gowns. You’ll also join other joint replacement patients for buffet lunches, television, cards and games.
What is the cost?
As Medicare participating physicians, our doctors accept the amount Medicare approves for hip replacement. We will file your Medicare and will also bill your supplementary insurance for the 20% portion of the surgeon’s fee that is approved by Medicare but paid by your supplementary insurance. The hospital also accepts Medicare assignment.