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Hip replacement isn't just for grandma anymore. It's now "hip" for younger patients to find relief from debilitating hip pain through hip surgery.

According to a report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, the number of total hip replacements more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. The number of hip replacements increased not only for people ages 75 and older (up by 92 percent), but also in much younger populations. For people ages 45 to 54, total hip replacement has gone up by 205 percent.

Hip problems and arthritis caused by wear and tear affects millions of Americans, and for many it limits their movement and activities. Doctors first suggest nonsurgical means to reduce pain and preserve the hip joint, such as weight loss, physical therapy, medication and steroid injections. When symptoms persist, surgical repair may be considered. But hip preservation surgeries often have a longer recovery period than replacements and aren't an option for everyone.

Minimally invasive options

Total and partial hip replacements have vastly improved in the past decade, allowing more people to find relief for their hip pain and regain former activity levels when other options have failed. For many years, some people with debilitating hip pain were told they were too young for a hip replacement, but implant technology improvements are allowing total hip replacements to last longer than ever. Based on the data available, it's likely that implants being used today will still be functioning well after 20 years. This increase in implant life span is making total hip replacement an option for the middle-aged population.

Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic utilizes computer-assisted technology to help surgeons work more efficiently and with less-invasive techniques. This helps align implants to a patient’s unique anatomy and shortens post-operative rehabilitation, allows smaller incisions and decreases blood loss. The technology gives the surgeon a better visualization of the patient’s joint, making minuscule adjustments possible to ensure the new joint has the stability and range of motion necessary for a successful replacement. Another result may be reduced joint wear and extending the life of the implant.

Advanced techniques have decreased hospital stays and recovery time, which is important for younger patients looking to return to their jobs and family duties more quickly. Between 2000 and 2010, the typical hospital stay after total hip replacement went down by one day across all age groups (an average of three to four days). Patients are sometimes able to walk without help within two to three weeks, often returning to work by four to six weeks after surgery. Through minimally invasive surgery, smaller incisions are used, which result in less scarring, a reduced chance of infection and faster healing time.

If you're experiencing hip pain that restricts your lifestyle, talk to a doctor at Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic. We may be able to help you with nonsurgical options and, if needed, offer total and partial hip replacement services to get you back on the move.

Dr. Richard Cimpl is an orthopedic surgeon with Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic.


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