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It’s no secret that we’re living longer, and sometimes, our joints don’t hold up as well as we’d like. Fortunately, advances in orthopaedic medicine are helping older adults stay active—and without hip pain. Geoff Glidden, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, answers a few questions about hip replacement surgery.
Q: What are some of the newer advances in hip replacement?
A: A partial hip replacement is now a possibility for some patients, Dr. Glidden says. This joint resurfacing procedure involves putting a cap on the joint instead of replacing it completely. In addition, different materials are being used in prosthetic joints. Metal joints are proving to be more and more popular, because of their longevity and the body’s ability to accept the joint. In fact, surgeons typically don’t use bone cement anymore, because the body can grow around the new joint and hold it in place naturally.
Q: What happens after surgery?
A: Patients are typically in the hospital for two to three days after surgery, and some movements are prohibited for several weeks. Patients should expect to be walking and working with a physical therapist for the first two to three weeks. Most patients are on a walker for about four weeks, Dr. Glidden says, and then using a cane for another few weeks. “The physical therapy isn’t complicated,” he says, “but it’s necessary.”
Q: How do you know it’s time for surgery?
A: “If you’re in pain and have lost the swivel in your hip—for example, if you sit down and can’t rotate your hip to tie your shoe—hip replacement surgery might be the answer,” Dr. Glidden says. “If your hip pain is interfering with daily activities, it’s time to see a doctor. But what’s neat about the hip is that it feels like a normal hip when you fully recover from hip replacement surgery.”
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