Orthopedics Hip Replacement-Unilateral
Did you know that the hip is one of the largest ball and socket joints in your body? No surprise, as it’s basically what attaches your entire leg to your trunk! Unfortunately, it’s also one of the joints that can cause the most inconvenience when it doesn’t work as it should - pain and stiffness in the hip can impact mobility and daily activities even more than other key weight-bearing joints, like the knee.
Hip replacement surgery was first done as far back as 1960, and is counted as one of the most successful surgeries in medical history! Modern hip replacement surgery has been a boon to those suffering from degradation of the hip joint, especially the elderly who are usually traditionally consigned to an armchair role in the family. A hip replacement uses ceramic, plastic or metal to resurface the hip socket and replace the ball at the top of the femur, easing pain and letting you walk, sit, and perform other normal movements naturally.
What are the most common causes of hip pain?
This can be answered accurately in one word - arthritis! However, let’s go into a little more detail.
Osteoarthritis is a common issue among the elderly, and is an age-related degeneration of the cartilage that cushions the hip joint, which makes the bones rub directly against each other and causes pain, discomfort and stiffness. People suffering from this often have a family history of arthritis, or may have suffered from childhood hip disease which, even when successfully treated, can cause irregularities in development which show themselves with age. Many younger people also suffer from osteoarthritis, such as actress Bipasha Basu, who has had it since 2005.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and can affect people of all ages. The most common type of inflammatory arthritis, it causes chronic inflammation of the synovial membrane. This membrane is a special type of connective tissue that lines the inside of the socket, and the inflammation can thicken it and damage the surrounding cartilage.
Post-traumatic arthritis is the result of a serious hip injury, such as a dislocation or a fracture. If the cartilage or other parts of the joint are damaged and do not heal correctly, this leads to painful arthritis over time.
Osteonecrosis is also a condition that can result from injury to the hip. If blood supply to the head of the femur is restricted, it can cause the bone surface to warp, resulting - once again - in arthritis. Osteonecrosis, also called ‘avascular necrosis’, can also result due to SLE and other autoimmune disorders, due to prolonged steroid treatment.
When do I need hip replacement surgery?
Answered simply, when you have hip pain and stiffness that affect your normal, everyday mobility, or just continuous pain that doesn’t stop, and these problems don’t respond to physiotherapy, physical supports or anti-inflammatory drugs, your doctor will recommend hip surgery.
Although the majority of hip replacement patients are elderly, due to how common osteoarthritis is among ages 50 and above, evaluation and recommendation of surgery is on a completely case-to-case basis, and independent of age and weight. It is mainly based on the pain and inconvenience of the disability. For example, hip replacements are occasionally necessary for young teens suffering from juvenile arthritis, and unable to keep up with their peers.