Hip replacement is an extremely effective way to eradicate pain and improve mobility for patients with hip arthritis. However, they aren’t always the only option available. If you want to sort your hip troubles out without going under the knife, there are some non-operative alternatives you’ll want to consider first.
Here, we’ll look at some of the best alternatives to hip replacement surgery available.
Conservative therapies could delay need for hip replacement
A clinical study conducted in Norway, has revealed that conservative therapies could delay the need for hip replacement surgery. However, it only applies to those suffering with osteoarthritis.
The cluster randomised trial developed a program based on international treatment recommendations. This included a three-hour patient education session, alongside 8-12 weeks of individually created exercises supervised by physiotherapists. There were 393 patients included in the study and 284 of them took part in the specialised program.
Just 64% completed the program and went through a 12 month follow up. This revealed the majority had seen significant improvement. So, conservative therapies could delay the need for a hip replacement in those with hip osteoarthritis.
Injections to relieve hip pain
Another non-surgical hip treatments option is for patients to undergo injections to manage inflammation. These include corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid injections. They are good for patients suffering from inflammation in the lining of the joint.
You will also find newer stem cell injections available at some clinics too. These consist of injecting stem cells into the hip to help it develop additional bone or cartilage. However, there is very little evidence to support the effectiveness and safety of these injections – we covered this in more detail in an earlier blog post.
Unfortunately, injections can sometimes make the problem worse, rather than better. For this reason, many experts advise against them. If you are considering injections, make sure you talk to a specialist hip surgeon beforehand.
A surgical alternative is to undergo a cartilage transplant, if there is only a small area of cartilage damage. Cartilage will be grown by a specialist team before it is inserted into the damaged area. The cartilage may also be placed to encourage the bone to produce more cartilage naturally. This remains an experimental procedure and at the moment is not likely to be a useful technique in patients with established osteoarthritis.
A partial replacement is another option if the area of cartilage damage is only small. However, this will still involve going under the knife and having smaller artificial parts fitted. This technique is not well established, so has to be used carefully and is only likely to be useful in a very small proportion of patients.
As you can see, there are alternatives to full hip replacements. The recent study has shown how effective conservative treatments can be. However, if the damage is extensive the best option remains a full replacement. Always talk to your surgeon about the options available to see which would best match your needs – to arrange a consultation with leading London hip surgeon Mr Simon Bridle, contact his PA Adriana on 020 8947 9524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.