- Aging & Longevity
Benefits of Hip Replacement
Having had a hip replacement three years ago, I have experienced many benefits following this surgery. As arthritis of the hip is not a life-threatening condition, the surgery is elective and the hardest part is in deciding whether to have the surgery or not.
However, in consultation with an excellent orthopedic surgeon who wholeheartedly recommended the procedure I decided to pursue this plan of action. Being informed in the first place that I needed the surgery was such a shock that I was resistant to the idea for some months but I never regretted it since the surgery.
It is appropriate to outline some facts about hip replacement surgery before outlining the many benefits it has for the activities of daily living.
What is a hip replacement?
Hip replacement is most often carried out on individuals with arthritis of the hip joint. It involves replacement of the ball and socket joint of the hip with artificial materials which in my case is ceramic and titanium mesh. The titanium mesh used in my hip replacement is an alternative to the "cement"(methylmethacrylate) used in other hip replacement procedures.This mesh allows the prosthetic hip to knit into the existing bone for a more durable, long-lasting result.
Although hip replacement is most often undertaken in cases of arthritis of the hip joint, it is also sometimes performed when the hip is fractured as well as for some other reasons.
The first hip replacements were performed in the 1960s and this type of surgical procedure has in most cases a very successful outcome, particularly in the context of new new technology and improved surgical practices.
Benefits of Hip Replacement
Research into the benefits of hip replacement surgery over an eight year period following the surgery has indicated that the lifestyle consequences are positive over this period of time for the majority of those who have undergone the procedure. The greatest benefits were reported to be in mobility and physical functioning.
This improvement in physical functioning and mobility has implications for the health service as it avoids the need to provide long-term care for these individuals which would otherwise be the case which is a further benefit of hip replacement.
Pain relief is another obvious benefit of hip replacement which has implications for improved mental health as tolerating chronic pain can have a detrimental affect on one's state of mind and quality of life. Another benefit related to this is the elimination of the need to take pain relief medication which can often have negative side-effects. For example,some pain medications for chronic arthritis can have an adverse effect on one's stomach and digestion which is compounded if they are being taken regularly.
The need to use a cane to assist with walking can be eliminated following hip replacement which is another benefit of this surgery although it must be stressed that there are risks attached to the procedure and some complications may arise which can outweigh the positive benefits in a minority of cases.
Benefits of hip replacement-my own experience
Before having my hip replaced, the pain was constant which resulted in my mobility being very compromised. Going for a walk was out of the question as I needed to use the limited mobility I had for keeping my home, cooking etc.
Although there is a six-week recovery period following the surgery when I had to use crutches, after that the pain was gone and I could move freely as much as I wanted. Two very positive effects that I noticed was the increased energy levels and the need for less sleep than before the surgery.Both of these positive effects are a consequence of the lack of pain.
The need to use a cane was also gone even though I used one as little as possible, I was getting to the stage of depending on it more frequently so the research reports outlined above are all very accurate.
What I will emphasize though is that the research focuses a lot on positive physical outcomes while I would consider the increased energy and lack of fatigue just as important in improving my quality of life as the physical results.
In conclusion, there are many advantages to having a hip replacement if it is recommended for you but it is also important to find out about the risks involved in this major surgical procedure. It is clear however that in the majority of cases, hip replacement does indeed have many benefits.