5 Tips for a Successful Hip Replacement Surgery
For starters, choose an experienced surgeon and finish with commitment to physical therapy
Total hip replacements are on the rise. Now, more than 285,000 of the procedures are performed in the United States each year, up more than 25 percent in just five years, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
“Total hip replacement surgery has some of the best results of all major surgeries,” says Paul King, M.D., director of the Joint Center at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md. Insurance, whether Medicare or commercial, usually covers the bill short of the co-pay. What’s more, the implants, whether ceramic-on-ceramic, or metal and highly cross-linked polyethylene, typically last 20 to 25 years.
Physical therapy after hip replacement surgery is one of the keys to a successful recovery. — Photo by Getty Images
Still, a hip replacement shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a big surgery and — as with all surgeries — there can be complications. To boost your chances of having a successful surgery, pay attention to these five things.
1. Choose an experienced surgeon who frequently performs hip replacements
William Washington, 73, of Washington, D.C., had a total hip replacement nine years ago after arthritis had so damaged cartilage in his hip that bolts of pain routinely shot through his back. He’s pain-free now and plays golf regularly, a happy outcome he attributes to his choice of an experienced surgeon. “He had done plenty of these and many people had recommended him,” Washington says. “He’s the mechanic. He knows the way to do it.”
Experience is the key, but how much? At least 30 replacements a year, says Brian Parsley, an orthopedic surgeon in Houston and one of the directors of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. And the surgeon should have done at least 100 procedures, says Justin Cashman, a Maryland orthopedic surgeon. How to find such a surgeon? “Your primary care physician can point you in the right direction,” says Cashman.