Is Hip Replacement for You?

Is Hip Replacement Surgery at the Georgia Orthopedic Institute For You?

How to Determine If Surgery Is Your Best Option

The decision to have hip replacement surgery is best made between you, your family, your primary care doctor and your orthopedic surgeon.

Here's how the process typically works. Your primary care doctor will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation of your hip problem. Your evaluation will likely include a review of your medical history, a physical exam of your hip joint and X-rays.

Recommendations for hip replacement surgery are based on your overall health, your age and the extent of your pain and disability.

Is It Right for You?

Hip replacement surgery may benefit you if:

  • Hip pain and/or stiffness limits your daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs or getting out of bed or a chair.

  • You experience minimal or no pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or if you are experiencing side effects from these medications.
  • Other treatments such as injections into the joint, physical therapy or assistive devices such as a walker, don't relieve the pain in your hip.

How the Hip Works

In order to understand why you're having hip pain, it's important to understand how the hip works.

The hip joint is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints. It has two main parts: the ball or head, which is at the top of the thighbone (femur), and a rounded socket in the pelvis, which the ball fits into.

Ligaments and muscles connect the ball to the socket and stabilize the joint. At the ends of the ball and socket, there is a smooth covering of cartilage that cushions the bones and allows them to move easily.

A Damaged Hip

When any part of the hip joint becomes damaged, movement of the joint can become stiff.

With time, the cartilage may begin to thin or wear away. This can result in the actual bones rubbing together as the hip joint moves. This causes pain and stiffness when the bones of the ball and socket rub together.

Joint damage can result from osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis), inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or a hip fracture from a fall or other traumatic injury.