Are there any alternatives?
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets may control the pain. Exercise may improve the movement of your hip. Physiotherapy can help reduce the pain if your arthritis is not too advanced.
A new operation to renew the socket and just put a new cap on the head of femur is still experimental. It is only suitable for relatively young patients if the arthritis is not too advanced.
An operation to cut the neck of the femur and fix it at a different angle, called an osteotomy, is sometimes done in very young patients.
A new operation, called a minimally invasive hip replacement, but not all patients are suitable for the minimally invasive approach. There is a higher complication rate following minimally invasive hip replacement that has to be balanced against the advantages.
What if you do nothing?
Arthritis is not dangerous in itself. But without an operation your hip will become more painful and your mobility will be reduced.
Who should have it done?
You should have your hip replaced if all the following apply to you:
- The pain in your hip interferes with your life.
- Tablets do not make the pain bearable.
- X-rays show that your joint is damaged by arthritis.
Who should not have it done?
You should not have a hip replacement operation if any of the following apply to you:
- You have angina or shortness of breath that limits your walking more than your hip pain.
- You have a urinary infection, called a UTI. This may result in infection of your new hip. We will test your urine. If it is infected, we will give you antibiotics before your operation.
- You are a man with prostate problems. If you have poor urinary flow it is better to have this investigated and treated before we replace your hip.
Author: Mr Boyd Goldie MBBS FRCS BSC DHMSA. Consultant in orthopaedics & trauma.
© Dumas Ltd 2006