Are there any alternatives to a total hip replacement?
There are some alternatives to help manage pain and discomfort associated with arthritis or injury:
- Standard painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain.
- Supplements to your diet may also help relieve your symptoms (you should always check with your doctor before you take supplements).
- Using a walking stick can make walking easier, as can a small shoe-raise.
- Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness. Physiotherapy may help to strengthen your muscles.
- A steroid injection into your hip joint can sometimes reduce pain and stiffness.
However, many people will find these measures become less effective if your arthritis gets worse and, depending on the severity of your condition, surgery may be the best option.
Benefits of hip replacement surgery
90% of patients experience a large reduction in hip pain following a total hip replacement, which usually allows them to return to their normal daily activities. You may or may not be able to return to active sports or heavy labour. You should follow the advice of your consultant on the levels of activity you can return to or undertake.
What does the operation involve?
Your surgeon will make an incision on the side of your hip to remove the damaged ball and socket. They will insert an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. This is fixed onto the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings that bond directly to the bone.
The hip replacement operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes. Your anaesthetist will advise you on the various anaesthetic techniques which are available.