Your Guide to Comparing Hip Replacement Surgeons by Alice Carter
in Health (submitted 2011-07-05)
The deterioration of a hip joint can happen very gradually, but it can get chronic in a matter of weeks, making movement extremely painful. If you have severe arthritis, the best solution is hip replacement surgery, which has been performed with a high success rate for many years now.The following guide will look at the circumstances under which a hip replacement operation is recommended, and give you some useful advice to help you find the most suitable surgeon.
When Hip Replacement Surgery is RecommendedIf you’re experiencing some of the following problems, your doctor will in most cases recommend you have hip replacement surgery:
- Your pain stops you sleeping or wakes you up at night.
- Your pain prevents you from being even minimally active and even makes normal daily activities difficult, such as looking after yourself, cooking and working.
- Over-the counter pain killers are no longer effective.
- Your pain has taken over so much that you begin to feel depressed.
Diagnosis to Confirm a Hip Replacement Operation is Necessary
Although the extreme level of pain you’re experiencing will generally be enough to warrant hip replacement surgery, your GP will want to confirm the problem with a series of tests that can include scans, blood tests and X-rays before they move forward with recommending the operation.
This is because it’s possible to experience severe hip joint pain due to other conditions, such as prolapsed vertebral discs, nerve damage around the hip or inflamed tendons. In the case of cartilage damage or loose material in the hip joint, a hip arthroscopy may help instead of surgery.
Finding the Right Hip Replacement Surgeon
Once your GP has confirmed an operation is the best way forward, the next step is to compare hip replacement surgeons and make the right choice.
It’s always best to get first hand advice and recommendations, so if you know anyone who has had the procedure, be sure to talk with them.
In addition to your GP and friends, you will also be able to get referral advice from your local hospital, your local Primary Care Trust and even your medical insurance provider if you have one. In addition, the Internet is a great avenue for research and comparison of surgeons in your local area.
From here, compile a shortlist of potential hip replacement surgeons and check their credentials. All suitable practitioners will be listed with the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Surgeons. It’s also a good idea to opt for a consultant who is an orthopaedic surgeon and ideally who specialises in hip replacement operations.
An important consideration in your final choice will also be location – since you could be in hospital for up to 2 weeks, you don’t want to be so far away that it’s almost impossible for your loved ones and friends to visit you.
Once you’ve selected a few suitable choices, the final step is to contact them and make appointments to discuss your operation. It’s always best to visit at least two hip replacement surgeons before you make your final decision.
Here are some crucial questions to ask the practitioner to gage whether they will be the right choice:
- What are the risks associated with the surgery and what will they do to tackle these risks?
- How many similar operations has the surgeon performed and what is their success rate?
- Where else do they work? – this will affect whether your operation will be performed on a dedicated day or after a shift elsewhere, such as at the local NHS hospital.
If you’re unsatisfied with any of their answers, or simply feel that they’re not the right match for you for any reason, do continue your search. It’s absolutely vital to take your time in the selection process, as you certainly want to feel comfortable that your surgeon understands your personal circumstances and has explained everything fully. Hip replacement surgeons who rush their consultations will not leave you feeling confident about your operation.
When comparing hip replacement surgeons, it’s important to ensure they discuss your treatment to your complete satisfaction so that you feel you’re in good hands.
About the Author
Angela Cilano is a researcher and independent advisor on hip replacement surgeons.
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