Q&A Topic: Hip Replacement Surgeries

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David J. Yasgur, MD, FAAOS

Q. What are the most common causes of hip pain?

A. When the outside of your hip is tender, the trigger is usually bursitis or iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that helps cushion the joint, and it can become inflamed and cause pain. The IT band is a large tendon that extends from the hip down the outside of the leg. If this tendon tightens up, it can rub against the thigh bone and become irritated and inflamed. Pain in the front of the hip or deep in the buttocks may be due to a hip flexor strain or sciatica. These conditions can be treated with stretching, physical therapy, and in some persistent cases, cortisone shots.

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Q. Why would someone need a hip replacement?

A. Arthritis is usually the reason, though people can manage the pain for years with the right therapy. Hip replacement becomes an option when patients have arthritis pain that keeps them up at night or interferes with everyday activities like walking, bending, using the stairs, and getting in and out of chairs.

Q. Will I be able to move normally after the surgery?

A. In most cases, definitely. Newly designed joints, inserted with computerized preoperative planning, allow for a much more accurate fit. For the last seven years, I’ve been using a three-part replacement joint that allows me to get the head of the joint exactly where it needs to be and the angle of the joint aligned with the original. This means the patient will be able to walk and move about normally, without limping, awkwardness, stiffness, or pain. A smoother gait also means less wear and tear on the joint, allowing the replacement to last much longer.

Q. What’s the recovery like?

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A. Patients follow a program of light walking for about six weeks. They need to avoid any strenuous movement to let the tissue around the joint calm down. After that, they can start a program of strength training; in about eight to 12 weeks, patients can usually resume their normal activities.

Q. How long does a hip replacement last?

A. Hip replacements are lasting longer and longer, thanks to improved methods and materials in the replacement joints. We expect the newest joints we’re using to last 20 to 25 years. (The previous technology was only good for 10 to 15 years.) The cushioning in the new replacements is made with a ceramic ball and with vitamin E-infused polyethylene. Just as it would in your body, the vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in protecting the cushioning. This has lowered the age at which we would offer hip replacement. Now we’re able to put joints in patients younger than 50/

Northern Westchester Hospital
Director of Quality and Outcomes
Orthopedic and Spine Institute
Learn More About Dr. Yasgur

Watch an animated video onhip replacement surgery

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More from Dr. Yasgur:
Chronic Knee Pain and Knee Replacement

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