The most common cause of chronic hip pain and disability is arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis are the most common forms of this disease.
An injury to the hip, such as a dislocation or fracture, may limit the blood supply to the femoral head. This is called avascular necrosis (also commonly referred to as "osteonecrosis"). The lack of blood may cause the surface of the bone to collapse, and arthritis will result. Some diseases can also cause avascular necrosis.
This is an autoimmune disease in which the synovial membrane becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of a group of disorders termed "inflammatory arthritis."
This can follow a serious hip injury or fracture. The cartilage may become damaged and lead to hip pain and stiffness over time.
Childhood hip disease
Some infants and children have hip problems. Even though the problems are successfully treated during childhood, they may still cause arthritis later on in life. This happens because the hip may not grow normally, and the joint surfaces are affected.
This is an age-related "wear and tear" type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older and often in individuals with a family history of arthritis. The cartilage cushioning the bones of the hip wears away. The bones then rub against each other, causing hip pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis may also be caused or accelerated by subtle irregularities in how the hip developed in childhood.
What kind of hip implant is best?
There are many kinds and designs of hip implants available today, and no one design or type is best for every patient. Surgeons select the implant they believe is best for their patients’ needs based on a number of factors, including age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have questions regarding implants, your surgeon will be happy to answer them for you.
How long is the recovery period?
Recovery can vary from person to person, but most people will need to use an ambulation aid such as a walker for four weeks or so. Most people will be able to go straight home from the hospital, though some patients—particularly those who live alone—may need to spend a few days at a rehab center or nursing home. Keep in mind that healing and recovery times can vary.
What are the risks?
Even though hip replacement surgery is considered a successful procedure, it is major surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks. Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimize the risk complications. Keep in mind that complications are rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family.
How painful is this procedure?
You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will do everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible. Pain after hip replacement surgery varies from person to person and is not entirely predictable. Modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control pain and discomfort after surgery.