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Am I Too Young for a Hip Replacement?

Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Bryan King, MD of the Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Northport, AL thorough

Senior citizens used to have the corner on hip replacement surgery, but not any more. Advanced osteoarthritis is the main culprit behind a patient’s decision to get a hip replacement. Other primary causes are Injury and overuse. All three conditions deteriorate joints that cause chronic pain and limit mobility.

Regardless of the particular cause and age, when the soft, rubbery cartilage that cushions the ends of your hip bones wears away, the bones are left unprotected. This leads to inflammation, and inevitably pain.

Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Bryan King, MD of the Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Northport, AL thoroughly evaluates each patient before recommending the best course of treatment. Dr. King always opt for the most conservative and least invasive treatments first, but sometimes hip replacement surgery is the best option.

An increase in hip replacements among those under age 60 

A study among hip replacements performed between 2000 to 2010, assessed the increase of the procedure among younger patients. The results: during that decade, the number of hip replacements increased by 172,000. Among patients ages 45-54, there was a 200% rise.

The reason for the upswing among younger patients is two-fold. 

Hip replacement surgeries are incredibly successful and enjoy a high satisfaction rate.

This is a key factor in the procedure’s surge in popularity among younger patients. Hospital stays are down to about a day and a half, and recovery usually only takes 2-3 weeks.

New more durable materials mean hip replacements last longer

Hip replacement surgery was previously reserved for the geriatric population because artificial hips often didn’t last that long. Younger patients would still have many active years ahead when the replacements would wear out, and they’d require a second surgery. For that reason,, surgeons rarely recommended them for patients under age 60. 

But thanks to technological advancements in both the surgical procedures and the artificial hips, younger patients are now able to keep their new hip joints through their most active years. Today, nearly 90% of hip replacements are still functioning after a decade, while 60% are still functioning 15 years post surgery. 

What to middle-aged patients should consider before opting for a hip replacement 

All surgery is accompanied by some risks. That’s why Dr. King always recommends the most conservative treatments first. However, should you both decide that surgery is the best choice, , here’s what you should know.

What the procedure entails

When the pain in your hip prevents you from normal daily activities, such as work, exercise, walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of your car, it’s worth considering a hip replacement. The surgery is extremely successful and enables you to reclaim your life.

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so you will sleep through the procedure. Next, Dr. King makes an incision and removes the damaged ball and socket of your hip joint. If necessary, any damaged cartilage is also removed. Once the surfaces of your bones are prepared, your surgeon attaches your artificial joint to your thigh bone and hip bone.

The benefits of hip replacement surgery

If you’re an athlete or otherwise extremely active, your new hip will undergo more wear and tear than if you led a more sedentary life. But that doesn’t mean a hip replacement isn’t for you. The younger you are, the easier your recovery will be. The bottom line is, only you can decide if your pain has reached the point where you need to do something about it. The good news is, you have a lot to gain, including:

If hip pain is preventing you from living life to the fullest, request a consultation with Dr. King at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute, by calling the office or using the online tool.

 

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