Hip replacement operations have grown over the past several decades as the population continues to age and people increasingly try to maintain an active lifestyle. This type of operation is commonly recommended for those patients who suffer from significant arthritis pain or to fix damage done to the joint as part of a hip fracture. Essentially a patient has two options, including a total hip replacement known as a total hip arthroplasty and a partial replacement called a hemiarthroplasty.
Hip pain is particularly difficult to diagnose. As the joint that connects the torso to the lower extremities, the hip is surrounded by tendons, the IT bands, and cartilage. People with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis in their family history can also suffer from bone degeneration or weakening. Adding to the issue is the fact that hip pain radiates, masking the root cause of the issue, and can feel like a lower back or knee problem.
A good rule of thumb is if the cause of the pain will, in turn cause a bone deformity or other issues, surgery is a great option. The only other factor to consider has to do with lifestyle. If delaying an operation will negatively impact your work/life balance, then the ability to walk and move without pain is paramount. The good news is that hip surgery, while sounding painful, is a relatively easy procedure. Most surgeries fall into two categories, depending on what the issue is requiring the surgery: a full hip replacement or shaving. The full hip replacement is either a couple of shorter incisions, or one long incision. The decision a patient reaches with the surgeon is unique to each patient. Due to the level of trust and comfort required for such an important decision, most patients should at the very least evaluate all the options, including risk, recovery, and downtime, prior to making a decision about the type of surgery.
Patients having a hip replacement or similar surgery are frequently up and walking within days, if not hours. Surgical technology has advanced enough that there are now minimally invasive procedures and computer-assisted operations to reduce the down time, as well as the pain. The net effect is that surgery reduces pain in the long term. Most orthopedic surgeons recommend a steady course of physical therapy following surgery. Advances in home health care may allow a patient to have a physical therapist come to the home for sessions. However, the key to a successful recovery is increased and steady mobility throughout the recovery process.
DePuy Othopaedics, a division of the Johnson and Johnson Company, has recalled several of its hip implant devices, due to an abnormally high failure rate of those devices. When a patient experiences a failure the patient frequently must undergo a second surgery to repair or replace the device far sooner than would normally be expected. Additionally, in some instances metal shavings from the implanted device can enter the blood stream which can lead to very significant collateral damage.
The first thing that all Depuy hip implant patients need to do is to get up to date information about the particular device they have received even if they are not experiencing pain or discomfort at this time. If in fact they have a recalled device then they need to get medical help as soon as possible to be certain that their device is functioning normally. Finally, if their device is causing problems they should talk with an attorney regarding their legal rights before those rights are lost.