There are several possibilities which you can discuss with your consultant: hip arthroscopy; hip resurfacing, hip replacement, and other non-invasive options.
Hip replacement (Arthroplasty)
A total hip replacement means the patient receives an artificial joint to resurface or replace the ball and socket in the joint. The implant will provide a new smooth surface that gives 90% of patients a normal life, free from pain.
Advanced key-hole hip surgery is becoming an increasingly common form of treatment, particularly if damage to the joint is at an early stage.
For some people damage occurs in their youth because the ball and socket in their hip joint is a poor fit. By the time they are teenagers or young adults, the resulting pressure in the hip joint has caused damage to the lining which leads to pain in the groin (often diagnosed as groin strain).
Hip arthroscopy enables the surgeon to get a comprehensive picture of the hip joint and then treat the damage. Any lining which is torn can be trimmed or repaired and irregularities in the ball and socket can be smoothed off. Such treatment may help to prevent osteoarthritis from developing.
Keyhole surgery requires three small incisions, of about one cm in length, at the top of the leg. As surgery is less invasive, it can be performed as a day case and pain is often greatly reduced. Patients can expect full recovery to take two or three months. Hip arthroscopy is not currently performed at Benenden Hospital.
With this procedure a smooth surface of metal plating is applied to the damaged area of the hip joint. Once recovery has taken place, the bones of the joint can once again function without rubbing together. Hip resurfacing is usually more suitable for younger patients as bones are more likely to fracture with age. Hip resurfacing is not currently performed at Benenden Hospital.
Other possible treatments
Medication is available which can help patients with osteoarthritis. Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory tablets, such as Ibuprofen, can help with mobility. Exercise may help too. For a couple of months, stiffness may be improved with a steroid injection (although this isn't a long term solution). However, there is no cure and pain is likely to increase over time.
Our hip replacement surgery is performed by a highly skilled team of consultants.
Preparing you for a successful operation
After your initial consultation which will, where possible, include diagnostic imaging and tests on the same day, you will be given an appointment for pre-operative assessment and education programme to ensure the best possible results from your operation. This means your fitness for anaesthesia will be assessed and confirmed. A date for surgery will be arranged. Any questions you have can be answered, full information on your stay provided and you'll also be entered into our Rapid Recovery Programme.
What to expect on the day
On the day of your surgery, you'll be admitted to the admissions area. You'll then have a meeting with your consultant and anaesthetist before you're prepared for theatre. For a hip replacement an incision will be made on the hip and thigh, between 15-30 cm, and then closed with stitches or clips. On average your operation will take up to two hours. Once complete you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be observed until you are fit to return to the ward.
After your operation
Your recovery in hospital usually takes approximately three days and will be managed by a highly skilled team of nurses. Every day you will be visited by a physiotherapist who will help you to start to regain your mobility through carefully planned exercise. Understandably, you can expect your hip to be tender and painful at first. You may also have a swollen knee or ankle for a few months as well as bruising.
You will probably be discharged after three days following your operation. However, everyone is different so you will only be discharged once we're happy that it is safe for you to leave.