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Do I Need a Hip Replacement?

Your hip is one of the largest joints in your body. When it's damaged, it can leave you dealing with a great deal of pain and stiffness, sometimes enough to severely impact your daily movements and quality of life. 

There are many nonsurgical ways to address hip pain, but hip replacement surgery, also called hip arthroplasty, is an effective option if those others fail to work.

While hip replacement therapy is usually only recommended after other nonsurgical remedies have failed, more people than ever are opting for surgery. The number of hip replacement therapies have more than doubled in the last decade. 

One of the reasons for the increase is that with new technology, recovery from hip replacement surgery is quicker and easier than it has been in the past. However, surgery is not the best option for everyone.

Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Bryan King, MD, PhD, of Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute specializes in joint pain and replacement surgery. Here, he explains when it's time for a hip replacement and when you should wait or try other treatments.

What is hip replacement surgery?

Over the years, your hip joint endures significant wear and tear, especially if you're active. One of the most common reasons for hip replacement therapy is arthritis, a disease that causes inflammation of the joints, causing pain and stiffness.

Arthritis can cause severe damage to your joints over time. You can also damage your hip joint by falling or in an accident. Hip replacement therapy removes a damaged hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint. 

When you should consider hip replacement surgery

While hip surgery is one of the most successful operations in medicine, it is a major operation that requires about 6-12 months for a full recovery. In other words, you should carefully weigh your options and try other nonsurgical treatments before you opt for surgery. 

Nonsurgical options include anti-inflammatory and pain medicines, physical therapy, and activity modification. If these treatments don't help relieve pain and stiffness, and if the pain interferes with your sleep, your mobility, and your daily activities, then a hip replacement may be the right treatment option for you.

After surgery, part of your rehabilitation includes rest and physical therapy to help you regain your strength and mobility. You may need a cane or walker to help you walk while you recover.

You should decide whether to have surgery with input from your doctor and your family. If you're experiencing hip pain that's interfering with your life, call Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute for an appointment with Dr. King to learn how you can find relief for your pain. 

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