As soon as a person starts feeling pain in their hip area, it usually leads to bad news. A lucky few will see their hip pain fade away, but more often than not, it’s a warning sign that serious issues are brewing.

The hips don’t receive a ton of attention until they stop functioning the right way. When that happens, people realize just how valuable they are for daily life. Even if a little bit of constant pain is in the hip area, it can negatively affect a person throughout the day.

The two most common long-term solutions for severe hip pain are total hip replacement surgery and hip resurfacing. These two techniques have helped many people live a much better life, and doctors continue to recommend these procedures to people of all ages.

Despite the success, there are some significant disadvantages and risks associated with both procedures. Before going under the knife and dealing with surgery like this, each individual should do their research. Due to the risks, it is recommended that patients consider other alternatives before settling for surgery.

What should people expect out of a total hip replacement or hip resurfacing? Here’s a closer look at the two popular procedures, and the disadvantages and risks to them.

Hip Replacement Surgery

When a person starts dealing with too much pain and suffering in the hip area, doctors tend to recommend a total hip replacement surgery for the most serious issues. It’s a diagnosis that no one wants to hear, because it involves a lengthy recovery and a sense of uncertainty about the quality of life going forward.

First, it is worth mentioning that total hip replacement does help some people. Even though the surgery and recovery take time, some people have gone from constant pain to a new lease on life. Having an artificial set up can give people mobility that they haven’t had in years. Getting over a decade of use out of an artificial hip is sufficient for many as well.

It is also a surgery that is so common these days that complications are greatly reduced. There was a time where hip replacement complications were fairly high, but new techniques and technology have helped out quite a bit. Getting a hip replacement today is much safer than even ten years ago.

Disadvantages and Risks of Hip Replacement

Despite the positives, a total hip replacement comes with plenty of disadvantages and risks. Hip replacement surgery is a huge deal, and the harsh reality is, not everyone makes a full recovery from it. Not only can there be complications in the hip area, but if everything doesn’t go right, a person can suffer from issues in other parts of the body as well.

After replacement, a patient will often have a limp. The strength, flexibility, and range of motion has to be regained in order to walk with a correct stride. A repetitive limp result in increased wear and tear of lumbar discs, facet joints, hip, knee and ankle due to mechanical leverage. It might cause or aggravate degenerative change (osteoarthritis) of the disc and facet joints. It is important to work on regaining the range of motion, flexibility, and strength necessary to walk properly.

Some patients deal with blood clots or other complications post-surgery.

It is a true challenge to make a full recovery and not have anything else slow the process down.

All the trouble of going under the knife for hip surgery results in a new hip that has a shelf life of only 15 to 20 years. For some people, that is sufficient enough for them to get to the end of their life. For others, they might need to go through multiple surgeries to keep everything functioning properly.

Due to the nature of how the hip replacement, staying active and making a full recovery is pretty difficult. It might seem like a hip surgery can solve hip problems, but some people take years and years to get back to their normal self.

Hip Resurfacing

For years, hip resurfacing has been labeled as a safer alternative for people who don’t want to go through a true hip replacement. Most of the time, younger patients who are dealing with hip issues but want to eventually be as active as possible have this suggested to them.

The main difference is that with a conventional hip replacement, the a ball and socket replaces the hip. It works well for a lot of people, but those who are young and active will likely outlive the hip replacement. A standard hip replacement usually lasts 15 to 20 years. After that, the replacement starts failing as it loosens up from the bone and becomes thinner and thinner. Not only is the hip replacement compromised, but the pain returns and further damage is possible.

With hip resurfacing, the ball at the top of the thigh bone is not removed, but shaved down. The goal is to get the shape at a point where a metal ball can be placed around it and work as good as new. This preserves the thighbone side, which means a lesser chance of dislocation, better stress distribution, a longer-lasting fix and a better chance of fully returning to an active lifestyle.

Hip resurfacing sounds like a perfect solution to a lot of people. Is it? Despite looking better than a full hip replacement, there are still risks to consider.

Disadvantages and Risks of Hip Resurfacing

If possible, most people do opt for hip resurfacing over a total hip replacement. There are still some disadvantages and risks to watch out for. The surgery is fairly difficult, which makes it hard to find a surgeon who is very skilled in providing hip resurfacing. It’s important to go with someone who knows what they are doing, because there are some huge risks involved during a subpar procedure. A failed resurfacing can force a person into a total replacement.

Currently, there are no options for a ceramic hip resurfacing. Many believe that it will happen down the line, but metal is the only option right now. With metal-on-metal bearings, that could mean metal ions releasing into the body. People might not react that well to cobalt and chromium in the body. It’s never a good idea to put anything in the body that could potentially be toxic.

Finally, it’s a very expensive procedure to go through. Even with insurance, many people are forced to spend a great amount of money to have their hip resurfaced. This is not a one-time fix either, as some people will have to go back, again and again, to have touchups and fixes done.

Are the procedures worth the risk?

Pain in the hip can cause a person to seek immediate relief if it is at a certain level. That’s why so many people get hip replacement surgery or hip resurfacing as soon as they can schedule it.

While this might be the only solution for some, others can benefit from alternative treatments. This includes regenerative medicine, which includes treatments such as stem cells, PRP, growth factors, and more. More and more doctors are offering these solutions for people who are reluctant to go under the knife just yet.

Pursue alternative solutions in the beginning. Surgery solutions are always there, but if non-surgical treatments has the potential to alleviate the pain and heal the hip, isn’t it worth considering?

Paul is a patient who decided to receive non-surgical regenerative treatment. In this video, he discusses his experience:

For more information about Paul’s experience and hip surgery alternatives: Patient’s Severe Hip Pain and Degeneration Treated With Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Regenerative therapy is a low risk, viable alternative to surgery. It is a completely different approach to treating chronic hip pain.

As opposed to going under the knife and replacing the hip with a prosthetic implant or having arthroscopic hip surgery, regenerative treatment gives the patient an opportunity for their body to heal degenerated and injured tissue.

With any medical treatment, there are no guarantees that it will or will not work for a patient. Each patient’s condition is unique. There are some cases where a patient will not be a candidate for regenerative treatment.

Other than the hip, areas treated also include back/spine, neck, knees, shoulders, hands and wrists, feet and ankles, and more.

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To learn more about regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy, and other non-surgical treatment options, register to attend one of our free local educational classes, and get your questions answered.

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Renew Medical Centers is the place patients go for non-surgical treatment of joint arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems.

Medicare and other major insurance plans now cover regenerative treatments that we, at Renew Medical Centers, provide.

Schedule your patient consultation to determine if you are a candidate.

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