Alternatives to Hip Replacement Surgery


Authored by Veronika Fevers in Health
Published on 06-07-2009

For those individuals suffering with severe hip pain caused by arthritis, daily activities can become rather difficult. As we age, our joints become worn down resulting in moderate to severe pain. If you are kept awake or cannot function in the same capacity as you once could, it may be time to consider your treatment options. Depending on the extent of your pain, your age, and your condition, hip replacement surgery may not be the only answer. It is important to know that there are alternatives to hip replacement surgery which may be better suited for your condition.

While hip replacement surgery was once thought to be the only solution for individuals suffering from severe arthritis of the hip, times have changed. There are several alternatives that may be recommended by your physician as opposed to jumping right into the option of hip replacement surgery. These alternatives can include physical therapy, activity modifications, and medication regimens. Hip replacement therapy should only be considered once these alternatives have been exhausted.

Once these options have been proven unsuccessful in managing your pain, there are several surgical alternatives. While they are surgical procedures, they are not as intensive in regards to recovery as a total hip replacement surgery. These options include hip resurfacing, hip fusion, and hip osteotomy.

Hip resurfacing leaves the individual with more of the natural bone than a traditional hip replacement surgery would. This procedure is favored for younger patients and has a far shorter recovery period. This makes it a plausible alternative to hip replacement surgery. Hip resurfacing involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the hip joint and a metal socket within the pelvis, as opposed to the utilization of an implant.

Another alternative to traditional hip replacement surgery is the hip fusion technique. Although this procedure can eliminate the majority of the pain associated with severe hip arthritis, it has drawbacks as well. Hip fusion is performed by fusing a metal plate to the hip, which leads to a loss of movement of the hip area. This loss of movement can result in limping for an individual who has undergone the procedure. While hip fusion is a viable alternative to hip replacement for individuals that perform arduous labor, it is not performed frequently.

For individuals experiencing severe symptoms of arthritis in the hip area, these alternatives can provide relief. Weight loss, activity modification, medication, and physical therapy should be attempted prior to undergoing any surgical procedure. Hip replacement is a major surgery and should only be used as a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted. When pain levels are so severe that daily life is impacted, it is only natural that solutions be researched. Pain can affect life functions to the point that even the simplest daily tasks seem too much to handle. Consult your physician and have them explain your treatment options. These are alternatives to traditional hip replacement therapy, and may or may not resolve your condition.


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