According to an article on AARP.com, total hip replacements are on the rise – to the tune of 285,000 each year in the United States alone. The figure equates to a 25 percent increase in just five years.
“Total hip replacement surgery has some of the best results of all major surgeries,” Paul King, M.D., director of the Joint Center at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md. said in the article. Luckily, insurance will typically cover the bill, minus co-pays of course. Patients, too, will get their money’s worth, considering the implants typically last 20 to 25 years.
Regardless of the success rates, individuals heading toward a hip replacement surgery should take the procedure quite seriously. Any operation, after all, has its risks.
To help ensure a safe and successful experience, AARP.com offered up these five tips. And we here at Freedom Home Care recommend starting up a dialogue with your home care provider to get the best results.
1. Choose a surgeon who frequently performs hip replacements
AARP.com says that experience is the key, but the editors wondered just how much. The answer that they received from one of the directors of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons was that the surgeon should be performing at least 30 replacements a year. And he or she should have at least 100 procedures under their belt.
2. Understand the techniques
“In a total hip replacement the bones that form the ball and socket of the hip are replaced with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis,” AARP.com explains. “The two most common approaches involve incisions either close to the buttock (posterior approach) or in the thigh (anterior approach). In some cases, surgeons may also use minimally invasive techniques, which involve smaller incisions, and the two-i
ncision technique, in which they make one incision in the front of the thigh to insert the synthetic socket, and another in the back of the thigh to insert the ball and stem.
“Because less muscle is cut with the anterior approach, patients sometimes have fewer restrictions on movement after surgery. Some say the anterior approach results in a shorter hospital stay, less pain and a lower risk of hip dislocation after surgery.
“Joshua Jacobs, chairman of orthopedic surgery at Rush University in Chicago and a vice president of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, cautions against making assumptions about benefits of any of the various approaches. He says he’s ‘heard all of those claims’ but hasn’t yet seen the studies to support them.”
3. Prepare your muscles for surgery
AARP.com refers to this preparation as “pre-hab,” and suggests patients get in touch with a physical therapist who understands their patients’ functional ability before surgery to be better able to help with the recuperation process.
4. Lose weight for better results
The prostheses that are used were designed to handle normal body weight; a body Mass Index of 25 or less is ideal. And if a patient is above that target body weight, a surgeon could reserve the right to hold off on surgery until the patient loses the extra pounds.
5. Stick with rehab and physical therapy
No matter the individual, their weight or their energy levels, the recovery time for a hip replacement can be fairly extensive. And it will be even longer if a physical therapist isn’t part of the equation.
“Dunleavy puts his patients into one of two categories during the outpatient phase: hearty and passive,” says AARP.com’s editors. “The hearty ones need only two, maybe three, visits to the physical therapist each week because at home they religiously follow the prescribed exercise regimen, which typically consists of 15- to 20-minute sessions, three times a day. The so-called passive do little or nothing at home, so they need to see the physical therapist nearly every day.”