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Choosing the Right Doctor

Orthopaedic surgeons have chosen to specialize in treating the musculoskeletal system. They receive a very specific type of medical training and may specialize even further by taking a fellowship.

Choosing a Doctor

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How Severe is Your Hip Pain?

Most of us try to minimize the amount of pain we feel. We don't like to complain, and it may seem like focusing on the pain makes it worse. But before you can treat your condition, it's important to get an accurate idea of the pain you're experiencing, how it affects your mobility, and the effect it is having on your daily life. To begin, answer the questions below.

HIP PAIN ASSESSMENT

  • Does your hip hurt one or more days a week?
  • Does the pain interfere with your sleep?
  • Are pain medications no longer working?
  • Is it painful to perform everyday tasks and activities?
  • Does the pain interfere with your ability to walk?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to speak to a physician about treatment options.

For your conversation with your doctor, you can click here to print a discussion guide.

Advice for Choosing an Orthopaedic Surgeon

When choosing an orthopaedic surgeon, keep the following things in mind:

  • Orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors or osteopaths with an MD or DO degree who have completed a residency in orthopaedics
  • They must be certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Many orthopaedic surgeons choose to specialize even further by taking a fellowship, which usually lasts six to 12 months

In addition to the clinical credentials, your surgeon should show concern for your pain, take time to hear your concerns and answer your questions fully.

Hip Replacement FAQs    

Deciding whether or not to get hip replacement surgery is a difficult decision. Discussing your treatment options with your doctor is essential to helping you decide if this is the right choice for you. 
Here are some frequently asked questions about hip replacement surgery.

Am I ready for hip replacement?

Only your orthopaedic surgeon can decide if hip replacement is the appropriate treatment for you, and only you can decide if you are ready for it.

Am I too young for hip replacement?

Hip replacement is related to need, not age. Total hip replacement surgery can be an effective procedure that can help patients resume a more active lifestyle.

Why do people wait so long to have hip replacement surgery?

Many people delay joint replacement due to fear, misinformation, or a lack of awareness about their treatment options.

After hip replacement surgery, do I need to take any precautions before future medical procedures?

From now on, you must inform any doctors, including dentists, treating you that you undergone hip replacement surgery. Antibiotics may be prescribed before a procedure to help avoid infection.

I live by myself. To whom can I turn for help during recovery and rehabilitation?

You will likely need assistance with your daily activities for several days to a few weeks following your hip replacement surgery. If family members or friends are unable to assist you, ask your surgeon about being admitted to a rehabilitation facility for at least a few days following your surgery so you can get the assistance you need. 

What should I expect once I’ve decided to have hip replacement surgery?

Once you and your surgeon have decided hip replacement is right for you, your primary care physician or internist will take you through a preoperative medical evaluation. Scheduling and recovery plans are then discussed with your surgeon and hospital personnel.

How long will recovery and rehab take?

The typical hospital stay for hip replacement surgery varies, and each patient recovers differently. After surgery, you will work with a physical therapist to gradually increase your hip strength and mobility. Typically, full recovery takes 3 to 6 months.

What is the cost of a hip replacement?

The cost of a total hip replacement should be discussed with your particular insurance company. Every plan varies in out-of-pocket expense to the patient. You should check with your insurance company regarding these potential costs.

Will my new hip set off metal detectors?  

The sensitivity of every metal detector is different, and it’s possible that your implant might cause the machine to go off. 

Delaying Your Decision Has Implications

Studies show that early diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis can lead to better outcomes than delaying surgery. In fact, delaying surgery can lower your quality of life not only before the operation, but for up to two years after surgery.1 Also, if pre-existing medical problems become more serious, they could delay elective surgery such as hip replacement.

 

References

1. Fortin PR, Penrod JR, Clarke AE, St-Pierre Y, Joseph L, Bélisle P, et al. Timing of total joint replacement affects clinical outcomes among patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2002;46(12):3327-3330.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. The performance of hip replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. If you have conditions that limit rehabilitation you should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell you if hip replacement is right for you.

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