What is the best age to have a hip replacement?

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Hip replacement is a treatment option for resolving symptoms of a damaged hip, such as persistent pain and restricted range of motion. Doctors generally recommend non-invasive methods including physiotherapies and steroid injections, before suggesting surgical intervention. 

Choosing a hip replacement implant is a decision that the patient and the surgeon take together. A lot of factors are considered when choosing a type of hip replacement implant. 

Some factors that should be kept in mind when selecting an implant are

  • Whether the surgeon used that implant before
  • What is the expected life span for the implant, it should be at least 15 to 20 years 
  • Will the patient be able to do normal day-to-day activities
  • Is the implant material safe for the human body 

The surgeon will discuss all these factors during the pre-operative counselling and help patient choose a suitable implant type.

For patients dealing with chronic pain in the hip, and considering a replacement, the activities from every day are a huge pain for them. This is one of the primary reasons that people opt for replacements. Some activities that become difficult due to hip pain are – 

  • Walk 
  • Stand up 
  • Sit down 
  • Bend over 
  • Climb stairs 
  • Shop for groceries 

 

What is the correct age to undergo a hip replacement?

While there is no precise or perfect age to undergo a joint replacement surgery, the general rule of thumb is if your every day activities– such as sitting, standing, walking, driving, working, or shopping – are compromised, seek medical help, even if that ultimately means a joint replacement surgery is necessary.

A person’s overall health, the severity of the joint problem, and the extent of disability come into play when determining whether the person is a good candidate for joint replacement surgery.

The decision to operate must be based on the right reasons and evaluations. All other alternatives should be tried and eliminated. The facilities and execution must be professional and state-of-the-art.

Joint replacements in younger patient – 

The age-related factor that may affect a person’s eligibility to have a joint replacement surgery is being too young. Joint devices and implants have a defined lifespan. To avoid revision surgery, doctors will sometimes advise waiting unless the condition is debilitating. In addition, younger people are more active and wear out their prostheses sooner. A younger person undergoing a joint replacement is likely to need another replacement surgery 15 – 20 years later.

Joint replacements in older patients – 

Perhaps the patients whose quality of life is most transformed are those in their 80s and 90s. The relief from pain and disability, return to independence and favoured activities including sports can make all the difference for elderly patients. They may need special treatment, monitoring, and care – both before and after the procedure – by a team of healthcare professionals because elderly patients often have other co-existing and age-related medical conditions. A hospital staffed with expert teams, and having a track record for successful surgeries is critical. Elderly patients are also likely to need more extensive postoperative assistance and care at home and should make suitable arrangements.

Signs & symptoms that indicate the need for hip replacement surgery? 

Hip pain can have a variety of causes, not all of which make the person an eligible candidate for hip joint replacement. 

For instance, constant or long-lasting stiffness of the hip joint is a sign of rheumatoid arthritis whereas if the pain localizes in the hip region, it may be related to sciatica. 

However, in most of the cases of hip pain and discomfort, it can be directly related to the hip joint. Symptoms that it is the right time to undergo a hip replacement surgery are – 

  • Mobility issues, especially if the level of mobility is progressively worsening over time. 
  • Persistent pain and swelling in the hip. This pain is persistent.
  • Hip pain worsening during rainy weather 
  • Inability to sleep due to the discomfort and the pain
  • A “grating” feeling of the hip joint 
  • Increasing difficulty in climbing stairs. These symptoms also worsen over time. 
  • Over the counter pain medications are no longer effective.

How Is a Diagnosis Made? 

To determine if the person is a good candidate for hip replacement surgery, they need to through a thorough examination. 

This examination will include: 

  • A complete medical history evaluation, including the previous injuries or illnesses that might relate to the hip pain
  • A physical assessment to determine the range of motion, pain level and the strength of the natural hip
  • Other imaging techniques including MRIs and X-rays.

Hip replacement cost in India varies with the following parameters – 

  • Type of implant being used.
  • Age of the patient
  • Reason behind the damaged joint (osteoarthritis, or trauma)

Post operative care includes – 

  • When lying or sitting, DON’T cross your legs over each other at the knees or ankles. 
  • When lying down, DON’T turn your leg inward. 
  • Keep your toes pointed directly at the ceiling. 
  • Or, when sleeping, lay on the side that did NOT have surgery. When you’re sleeping, put a pillow between your legs. 
  • DON’T bend forward to reach your feet. 
  • DON’T swivel on the ball of your foot. 
  • AVOID bending so that the angle made by your body and leg is no sharper angle than an “L.” 
  • AVOID sitting with your knees together and feet apart.