Whether due to injury or age, hip pain can have a major negative impact on your quality of life. We need our hips to perform nearly any daily activity, from sitting to standing to walking. Hip pain and related symptoms such as stiffness, shooting pains and grinding sensations can affect relationships, work and hobbies.
Hip surgery starts to become a serious consideration for patients who have attempted a complete course of nonsurgical treatment without adequate pain relief. However, many people are reluctant to undergo hip surgery due to anxiety surrounding a long hospital stay, risk of infection and a long, often difficult recovery. While any surgical procedure has some amount of risk and invasiveness, these difficulties are largely associated with traditional surgery.
What many people don’t know is that today, orthopedic surgeons are able to use minimally invasive techniques that allow for a streamlined, outpatient experience for procedures, including total hip replacement. In turn, minimally invasive hip surgery can help patients enjoy a reduced risk of certain complications and start the all-important recovery process with less pain and improved mobility.
To learn more about minimally invasive hip surgery and the differences between traditional approaches to hip procedures, we’ve prepared the following guide. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the dedicated team at Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America (OJRCA). We’re here to help.
What Types of Hip Injuries and Conditions Require Hip Surgery for Pain Relief?
Due to the stress our hip joints undergo on a daily basis, there are a large number of injuries that can develop. From minor muscle strains to bursitis, most hip problems can improve with minor treatment. However, as we get older, our joints begin to wear out and our bones begin to lose density. This can result in age-related conditions that can cause severe joint damage.
Over time, our cartilage begins to wear out and lubricating joint fluid begins to dry out, leading to increased bone on bone contact and joint inflammation. Along with causing aches, pains and stiffness, the friction between the upper leg bone and hip socket in the pelvis can cause damage and deformity that can worsen over time. This damage is progressive in nature, which means that symptoms may become less responsive to conservative treatment.
What is the Traditional Approach to Hip Surgery?
To treat injuries and conditions, including hip fractures, hip arthritis and labral tears, orthopedic surgeons can perform hip surgery. Specific types of procedures include hip repair surgery for certain injuries to total hip replacement for severe joint damage.
With traditional approaches to hip surgery, the surgeon makes a large incision to access the hip. This requires significant disruption of surrounding tissue, such as muscles and tendons to be able to perform the needed procedure.
The result is an overnight hospital stay of one or more nights and often high levels of postoperative pain. This can make it difficult for patients to get up and moving during the critical early stages of recovery.
What Makes Minimally Invasive Techniques Possible
Minimally invasive hip surgery has become possible due to advances in technology and the ongoing development of techniques by orthopedic surgeons. For example, in hip replacement surgery, specialized tools and visualization equipment enable orthopedic surgeons to remove and resurface the hip joint through much smaller incisions.
The result is less disruption of surrounding muscles and tendons and the ability to be up and moving sooner compared to traditional hip surgery. Because of this, many patients are able to undergo hip surgery, including total hip replacement, on an outpatient basis at an ambulatory surgery center.
At OJRCA, board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Philip Clifford, combines a minimally invasive approach to total hip replacement surgery with highly advanced and proprietary anesthesia and multimodal pain management protocols. Whether performed at our state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center or in a hospital setting, our minimally invasive total joint replacement helps patients reach their treatment goals on a streamlined timeframe.
How to Know if You’re a Candidate for Hip Surgery
For patients dealing with hip joint damage, doctors will generally recommend fully exploring conservative treatments before undergoing surgery. This includes:
- Over-the-counter medication
- Alternating heat therapy and cold therapy
- Ensuring the hip joint gets sufficient rest
- Undergoing physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the hip and improve range of motion
- Pain-relieving injections
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections that can help the body’s natural healing process
If treatments have been exhausted without bringing the pain relief necessary for a good quality of life and activity level, surgery can become a serious consideration. It’s important to take a look at all possible hip surgery options and consult with multiple orthopedic surgeons. The skills, experience and approach to patient care of your surgeon is just as important, if not more so, than the type of surgery he or she performs.
To determine suitable candidacy for hip surgery, patients will typically undergo a full medical screening process and review of medical history. Additionally, patients should expect a diagnostic examination to precisely determine the source of hip pain and the type of hip surgery that offers the best chance of achieving lasting hip pain relief. Steps may include review of diagnostic imagery, ordering new diagnostic imagery, movement tests, hands-on palpation of the area, and other types of diagnostic testing.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Orthopedic Surgeon
Not only should you look for an orthopedic surgeon with the right credentials and experience, you also need to find someone who makes you feel comfortable as a patient. A surgeon should have a medical degree from an accredited school and completed a residency and fellowship that is relevant to the type of hip surgery you are considering. He or she should also be licensed to practice in their state of practice.
Board certification from an accrediting body is not a requirement for performing hip surgery, but it does represent an enhanced commitment to continuing education and achieving the highest level of patient care in a field. Orthopedic surgeons receive accreditation from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) after undergoing a rigorous evaluation and review of experience and credentials.
Learn More About OJRCA for Hip Pain Relief
At OJRCA, our mission is to help patients find the pain relief they deserve and get back to the healthy and active lifestyle they deserve. Founder, Medical Director and board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Clifford, “Dr. Flip” to his patients and teammates, is committing to a patient-centric care approach that basically boils down to treating patients like family.
Whether patients are ready for minimally invasive hip surgery such as total hip replacement, or still exploring conservative therapies, we can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that gives your confidence and hope. To learn more about our options for hip pain relief, contact the caring and dedicated team at OJRCA today.