Hip arthritis pain! It can be a bear, can't it! What do you do when each treatment you try no longer works?!?! My senior mom had the traditional total hip replacement surgery 15 years ago because of it and I still remember the shock I felt when she told me that for a prolonged period during her recovery she couldn't cross her legs because of it! What would I DO without my crossed legs! And the shots she had to have daily! I was SO grateful my senior dad was brave enough to give them to her. She had to have them every day for about three weeks. She was so brave! And an excellent patient! She recuperated very quickly because she did everything the doctor told her to, along with regular exercise. At the time, they lived in a retirement community that had a lovely large pool – perfect for long walks with minimal stress on her body. It was a huge help! But it was definitely a long process.
Fast forward 15 years and, to paraphrase an old commercial (showing my baby boomer age), "hip replacement surgeries have come a long way, baby!" They still offer the traditional surgeries – known as a posterior hip replacement surgery. As the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NIAMS) puts it:
During a traditional hip replacement, which lasts from 1 to 2 hours, the surgeon makes a 6- to 8-inch incision over the side of the hip through the muscles and removes the diseased bone tissue and cartilage from the hip joint, while leaving the healthy parts of the joint intact. Then the surgeon replaces the head of the femur and acetabulum with new, artificial parts. The new hip is made of materials that allow a natural gliding motion of the joint.
But there's also a new procedure, an anterior hip replacement surgery, to accomplish the same thing in what is often an easier way:
In recent years, some surgeons have begun performing what is called a minimally invasive, or mini-incision, hip replacement, which requires smaller incisions and a shorter recovery time than traditional hip replacement. Candidates for this type of surgery are usually age 50 or younger, of normal weight based on body mass index, and healthier than candidates for traditional surgery. Joint resurfacing is also being used.
We learned about the anterior vs posterior in hip replacement surgery this week at a surgery prep class. We were quite excited to learn that with the anterior surgery, per our local hospital, old rules about crossing legs or leaning forward in a chair may no longer apply! Unfortunately, the shots still do as that has to do with the blood thinning issues. But I was encouraged to learn the shot needle is very short, can go in almost anywhere, and is much less painful than I might have thought.
I have one family member who has had two hip replacement surgeries in the last two years and another senior relative who is having an anterior hip replacement surgery in the next few weeks that I will be actively involved in helping with. So as I learn more about dealing with all this, you know I'll be sharing the information with you as well. Including how I do with those, gulp, shots. 🙂 Have you had to deal with hip replacement surgery and recovery due to arthritis pain in your hip? Or are you caring for an elderly relative who has. We'd love to hear your tips! And in case you are wondering, the pictures I used for this article are some of our tips – great tools to help those dealing with arthritis hip pain, as well as the surgery recovery period. 🙂