If the doctor has recommended surgery for your loved one’s injured hip, you may feel a little apprehensive. After all, surgery is an invasive process fraught with risks. As such, you may find yourself researching hip replacement alternatives late into the night.
You know that seniors with damaged hip joints often face difficulties in performing the activities of daily living (ADL). To solve the problem, many well-intentioned doctors recommend a total hip replacement. This procedure removes the damaged joint and replaces it with one made from plastic, ceramic, or metal.
Hip replacements can dramatically reduce pain levels for seniors. However, they do have some drawbacks. Recovery is long and difficult, with intense rehabilitation needed.
Despite this, surgery may still be the best option for some seniors, depending on the extent of the damage. It isn’t, however, the only way to address hip pain. Here are some other options you may want to discuss with your doctor.
1. Non-Surgical Options
If hip pain isn’t significantly affecting your senior’s life, there are treatments that can help manage the pain and support the improved function of the joint. These include anti-inflammatory medication, supplements, physical therapy, cortisone injections, and walking aids, such as a cane or walker. These measures can help your loved one avoid surgery — but in some cases, they simply delay it.
By inserting a tiny fiber-optic camera through a small incision, surgeons can examine the joint. Then, guided by the images from the camera, they insert instruments to surgically repair the joint and remove damaged portions. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, and patients recover quickly.
Arthroscopy generally isn’t effective for people with arthritis or extensive damage to the joint.
This surgery starts with an arthroscopic procedure to remove bone that’s rubbing or catching in the joint. Surgeons then repair damage to the cartilage and surrounding area. Next, they inject a nanocrystalline BSM (bone substitute material) that molds to the joint. This material quickly solidifies, and over several years, the body slowly replaces it with new bone.
Recovery only takes about a month, and patients are usually able to return to all activities, including sports, within about nine months.
This procedure may not work well for your loved one if they suffer from severe arthritis, because it won’t stop the disease from damaging the joint.
.4. Hip Resurfacing
Resurfacing a hip joint is very similar to a full hip replacement, but less bone is removed. So, smaller implants are needed. Instead of removing the entire joint, the bone on each side of the joint is shaved down, then metal caps are placed over the bones. These new metal surfaces fit together, eliminating painful rubbing and catching.
Naturally, this technique has an easier recovery time than full hip replacements. However, it’s fallen out of favor recently because there have been a number of problems with metal-on-metal joint replacements.
5. Partial Hip Replacement
In a full hip replacement, the knob (or ball) of bone at the top of the femur and the bone socket that it fits into are both replaced. For a partial replacement, only the ball portion of the joint is replaced.
This procedure works well for people who have sustained damage only to the ball portion of the joint, usually due to a fracture. It doesn’t work, however, for a joint that has seen extensive damage from arthritis or other injuries.
As can be seen, the above are just some hip replacement alternatives you may want to consider. Your doctor can give you the information you need to make the best decision for your loved one.
Regardless of what approach you decide to take, our thoughtful caregivers have the expertise to support you, whether that’s assisting with physical therapy exercises or helping your loved one recover from a full hip replacement.
David York Agency Hip Replacement Alternatives for Brooklyn Heights Seniors
If the above information about hip replacement alternatives has been useful, check out David York Agency’s blog for more articles about senior care in Brooklyn Heights.
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