Hip replacement – surgery or not?

20 Jun, 2019

What is hip osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes progressive damage to articular cartilage and surrounding structures. The hip is the second most commonly affected joint (after the knee), and approximately 10% of people are affected. This can often cause the need for a hip replacement.

What does a hip replacement involve?

A hip replacement is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic. In a conventional hip replacement, a relatively large cut of 20-30cm is made in the skin above the hip, for the surgeon to gain access to the hip joint. The surgeon then removes the damaged hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint.

Risks of hip replacement surgery can include:

  • hip dislocation
  • infection at the site of the surgery
  • injuries to the blood vessels or nerves
  • a fracture
  • differences in leg length

After the surgery, you will need to adhere to the home-based exercise program prescribed by a physiotherapist. There is a lengthy period of recovery (usually 6-12 weeks) before you will feel back to normal.

How to avoid surgery?

A study showed that people with mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis (OA) may be able to avoid hip surgery with exercise. Participants who participated in an exercise program for one hour, twice a week were 44 percent less likely to need hip replacement surgery six years later compared with a similar group of people who did not exercise.  Also, those who exercised reported improved flexibility and ability to perform physical activities compared with those who did not exercise.

The Generation Physio & Allied Health team can help!

Our physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can tailor a specific exercise program to improve your strength and flexibility and reduce the likelihood of you requiring surgery!

Call our friendly admin team on 1300 122 884 to book an appointment now.

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