The Pros and Cons of Hip Replacements

The Pros and Cons of Hip Replacements

Following on from last week’s letter about the best ways to prevent and treat the pain and symptoms of arthritis, I’ve received a number of emails from people worried about the effectiveness and problems connected with hip substitute surgery.

So, let’s start with the facts: There are approximately 65,000 hip operations in the U.K. every year, all of which carry certain risks.

In the past, it was difficult for those under 60 to receive a new hip as the lifespan of the substitute was only 10 to 15 years which meant there was the probability of replacements in the future.

Thankfully, new techniques and materials can now provide a lifelong expectancy for the new hip. additional to that there are also many new preventative treatments used to reduce the risks of post-operative problems.

Blood clots and infections are the most shared post-operative problems. These are typically treatable, but you should discuss all the possible problems that could arise with your surgeon.

You should be aware that:

According to NHS Direct, post operative infections can be as high as 10%.

2. A recent study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that blood clotting statistics after hip and knee substitute surgery were as follows:

O.25% suffered pulmonary embolism (obstruction of an artery by a clot of blood or an air bubble).
O.4% suffered painful symptoms of thorough vein thrombosis
5.2 % suffered painless symptoms of thorough vein thrombosis

*Also you must remember that all forms of hip substitute usually require a period of 18 to 24 months for the new hip to fully knit and this usually causes varying degrees of pain and discomfort during that time

TYPES OF HIP substitute:

  • Plastic socket and metal ball – this method is now becoming out dated because the plastic wears away over the years, leading to further replacements every 10 to 15 years.
  • Metal on metal – The ball and socket are made from cobalt chrome and all the evidence shows that there is no meaningful use and tear over time. consequently, the new hip should last a lifetime. Some people have expressed fears about cobalt/chrome ions being released into the body, but as however there is no evidence to sustain that.
  • Ceramic on ceramic (aluminum oxide) – again, this will last a lifetime and has already less use and tear than metal and has a tiny risk of shattering. However, some experts believe that this is the best material for younger, more active patients.
  • Hip resurfacing – Lasts for life, with no drilling into the femur required and it preserves the healthy bone. The new section is made from carbon hardened steel. Steve Backley, the Olympic javelin champion, had this procedure in 2005 and stated that it has allowed him to return to complete and normal pain-free mobility.
  • Magnetic Hip – A revolutionary new technique containing a magnet that helps the prosthetic last three times as long. It’s currently undergoing laboratory testing and should start clinical trials on NHS patients within three years.

Once again, it is vitally important that you speak to your surgeon about all the options obtainable.

If you are not completely satisfied with your surgeon’s answers, then either insist on an official NHS printed list of possible risks, or utilise your right to ask for a second opinion.

Never forget you’re the patient, its your body, its your life – don’t be afraid to ask!

clearly, as I’ve been saying all along, it’s up to you to take care of your own health, especially your joints. This is vitally important if you want to ensure good health and mobility well into old.

For those of you that already feel the early onset of any arthritic hip problems, you must consult your doctor closest and be proactive in treating the pain and dealing with lost tissue and grinding joints.

If you are middle aged , and especially if you have suffered from any sporting injuries or endured an arduous working life, you really must consider taking action now to stave off any joint problems, especially with your hips.


  • Weight loss – I know its obvious, but relieving the stress on the joints is vital to retaining healthy tissue around the joint.
  • Water exercise – The buoyancy of the water allows for comfortable movement and gentle exercise for the hip area.
  • Hydrotherapy – A good physiotherapist can suggest a regime of warm water therapy that will alleviate pain and stress on the joint.
  • Strengthening exercises – Again a good physiotherapist can help you to build up the muscles around the affected joint. This will help you with your posture and mobility.
  • Artrosilium – Once again I would refer you to the all natural product Artrosilium that I mentioned here last week- its proven to help relieve the pain and already help rebuild lost tissue (and with no side effects!)
  • I would recommend the regular application of Artrosilium combined with a daily measure of Arthritis strength Formula.

Together they provide a potent arthritis busting team that is completely natural and safe to take.

Remember that arthritis is a particularly cruel condition and can hit anybody at anytime, irrespective of your past physical history – arthritis does not discriminate!!!

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