When to Consider a Total Hip Replacement

Jan 16, 2024

Hip replacement surgery is an unqualified success for many patients who suffer severe joint deterioration, usually from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another form of the disease. The big question for some is not if they should have the procedure, but rather when they should have it. 

It’s a matter of balancing factors such as the amount of pain you suffer, the effectiveness of pain management (as well as the side effects), and the life span of the prosthetic implant. The right time for surgery is something that you and your surgeon decide together. 

Our joint replacement specialists at Cascade Orthopaedics are your surgical partners when it comes to your hip replacement procedure. When possible, we use robotic-assisted surgical approaches to add to the precision of the procedure while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue and speeding your recovery. 

Let’s take a look at some of the factors you may need to balance to decide when to consider a total hip replacement. You could be a candidate if you experience one or more of the following conditions. 

Medications and physical therapy come up short

Pain management programs for hip pain can often make life tolerable. Typically, these combine pain medication with physical therapy to keep inflammation and pain at bay. 

One of the problems that some patients encounter is that pain meds have a limited duration of effectiveness. Your body begins to resist the pain-relieving effects of medications, requiring larger doses or stronger drugs. Side effects, including addiction, become a problem on their own. 

You have pain when you’re resting

Getting around can irritate the hip joint, causing discomfort or pain. Resting should provide relief, but you may reach a stage where your hip continues to hurt. It’s possible that your sleep cycle can suffer, and you’re stuck with the burden of unrelenting discomfort. 

There’s recognizable damage to the hip joint

Diagnostic imaging like X-rays and CT scans can show deterioration of hip components. Osteoarthritis starts when the cartilage covering bone surfaces starts to break down, while other forms of arthritis damage the hip in different ways. In most cases, this damage is incurable and progressive. 

Lost mobility and pain make day-to-day living difficult

It’s not easy dealing with pain on a near-constant basis. It’s not just about the difficulty you have moving and completing tasks. Pain causes stress, which in turn causes physical changes in your body that are meant to be short-term, not chronic. 

Stress can also cause mood changes like depression and irritability. 

You’re ready for long-lasting relief

All hip replacement prosthetics would fail if you lived long enough, so the question for when to consider surgery might include timing things so that your prosthetic lasts longer than you do or, on the flip side, so you’d still be young enough for successful revision surgery when the prosthetic starts to deteriorate. 

A 2019 review of case studies with 15 years or more of follow-up indicated that up to 77% of hip replacements survive 20 years.  With refinements to materials and design, it’s reasonable to expect that prosthetics used today will meet or exceed these results. 

Much comes down to the specific factors of your hip and its condition. The best way to learn more about the particulars in your case is with our surgeons at Cascade Orthopaedics. 

You can schedule a consultation by phone or online to start the conversation and decision-making process. Book your visit today at either our Auburn or Bonney Lake, Washington, office.