During hip replacement surgery (arthroplasty) a surgeon removes the dysfunctional hip joint and substitutes it with a ceramic or metal artificial joint (prosthesis). Hip replacement surgery is a recommended treatment when arthritis or an injury is causing pain or has resulted in hip joint damage. Hip replacement can relieve discomfort and reinstate proper mobility of your hip joint. According to the Mayo Clinic more than 90 percent of hip replacement surgeries are successful. The operation can cost thousands of dollars.
Before you seriously consider hip replacement surgery, your doctor may suggest other non-invasive treatments, including medications, exercise, physical therapy and possibly the use of a walker or cane. If these alternatives prove to be insufficient, hip replacement may be a practical solution.
The Mayo Clinic says there are several symptoms that may indicate that hip replacement surgery is warranted. They include pain that is severe enough to prevent sleep, problems walking up or down stairs, and finding scant relief from pain medications or assisted walking devices.
Standard Hip Replacement Surgery
During hip replacement surgery the surgeon will cut an opening in the hip and take away any damaged bone and cartilage. A prosthetic socket is then inserted into the pelvic bone in place of the faulty opening. Next, the surgeon replaces the round portion of the femur (thigh bone) with a prosthetic ball connected to a stem that mounts into the thighbone, thus creating an artificial joint.
Hip Replacement Costs
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says complete hip fracture care is approximately $35,000. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina says the median cost of hip replacement surgery is about $39,000.
If you have health insurance your provider can tell you exactly what percentage of the procedure may be covered and your approximate co-pay.
Pre & Post Op Costs
Part of the cost of a hip replacement procedure includes the care and tests a patient receives before and after the actual operation.
A surgeon's initial hip replacement evaluation will include a complete medical history and X-rays. In some cases, more complex and costly tests may be performed such as an MRI to look for bone and soft tissues. Other preparatory expenses for surgery may include blood tests.
After surgery, most hip replacement recipients are required to spend a few days in the hospital to recover and be monitored for any possible complications.
Upon release from the hospital, hip replacement patients may have some accommodation-related expenses to help ensure a safe and comfortable recovery.
Home aids such as shower or bath handrails, a hand-held extension device for easier access to items and pillows or pads that permit sitting with the knees lower than hips.
Hip replacement surgery is generally safe and most potential complications can be successfully treated. Problems may include blood clots that are usually prevented with blood thinning medication and infections at the incision site.
In rare cases, an artificial hip can break after several years and another surgery would be necessary.
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