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9 facts & myths about hip replacement surgery
Are you missing out on favorite activities because of misbeliefs?
If you're thinking about having hip replacement surgery, it's important to know the facts about the procedure so you can make an informed decision about what's right for you. Here are some important facts (and common misconceptions) about hip replacement.
FACT: Hip replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in all of medicine.
Hip replacement works for most people. If you have pain and trouble getting around, a new hip will most likely improve the quality of your life and ease your pain.
Every surgery has risks. Your doctor will explain these risks to you. But hip replacement overall is very safe. Each year, many thousands of people have this operation.
MYTH: Hip surgery is just for older people.
Age alone isn't a factor when it comes to who should have their hip replaced. It has more to do with the amount of pain you're in and any limits on your activities. While most people who have a hip replacement are over 50, younger people have also had the surgery.
MYTH: Having surgery isn't worth the pain.
You will have some pain after surgery. But your doctor will help you control it. Once you heal from surgery, you should have significantly less pain than you did before the procedure.
FACT: Hip replacement surgery doesn't involve a lengthy hospital stay.
You might spend just a few days in the hospital—or go home the same day. For a while, you'll need help at home with tasks such as cooking, shopping and bathing. If you don't have a caregiver to provide this support—or if you need additional therapy to recover—you might need a short stay in a skilled nursing or rehab facility before you go home.
MYTH: The recovery from hip replacement is long and hard.
You'll likely start walking with assistance the day of your surgery. Most people can resume everyday activities within three to six weeks. By two months, many people are well on their way to full recovery, though you will continue to get stronger for up to 12 months after the surgery. Physical therapy and/or home exercises can help you get stronger.
FACT: Artificial hips can last for many years.
Today, hip implants are made from strong materials. A hip implant can last for 15 to 20 years, if you take good care of it.
MYTH: You won't be able to do normal activities or work again after hip replacement.
Actually, a new hip can help you move better. So you should be able to do more with it than you could before surgery. In time, you might even forget that you've had your hip replaced.
Ask your surgeon what you can expect from a new hip. Be sure to discuss your current occupation and your expectations.
MYTH: Most people regret having their hip replaced.
In one study, 89% of people who had hip replacement surgery were happy with their new hips. And 96% said they'd do it again. The one thing many people may regret is that they didn't do it sooner.
FACT: Needing a hip replacement isn't something to be ashamed of.
Many people end up needing a new hip because of the wear and tear of arthritis (which often runs in families) or injuries. Deciding to have a surgery that can help you get your life back again is a sign of strength—not failure or weakness.
Do you need a new hip?
Here are 4 signs it might be time.
Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
- American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. "Don't Take Your New Joint for Granted: Follow-up Care." https://hipknee.aahks.org/dont-take-your-new-joint-for-granted-follow-up-care/.
- American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. "How to Get the Most out of Your Joint Replacement." https://hipknee.aahks.org/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-joint-replacement/.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "Joint Replacement Surgery: Health Information Basics for Your and your Family." https://www.niams.nih.gov/community-outreach-initiative/understanding-joint-health/joint-replacement-surgery.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "Hip Replacement Surgery." https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/hip-replacement-surgery.
- OrthoInfo. "Total Hip Replacement." https://orthoinfo.org/en/treatment/total-hip-replacement/.
The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.