Problems with the hip joint are common, with more than 332,0001 total hip replacement procedures performed in the United States every year. However, for some people, repairing the hip and preserving their natural joint is a better treatment option than total joint replacement. We asked hip preservation specialist Thomas Wuerz, MD, MSc, MS, the top four questions he receives from patients on hip preservation.
What is hip preservation?
Hip preservation encompasses a variety of non-surgical treatments and surgical procedures designed to reverse or slow the degenerative disease process and the need for hip replacement. The goal is to alleviate pain and optimize current hip function, allowing people to continue participating in an active life.
Who is a candidate for hip preservation?
Hip preservation at NEBH is designed for patients ages 15 and older who have hip pain but do not have moderate to severe arthritis. Some patients may present with pain in the hip area, but the pain is actually not from the joint itself but caused by issues in surrounding muscles, tendons or nerves in the spine, or even from abdominal problems.
Some of the most common conditions we treat include:
Will I be able to resume activities I enjoy, and how long will it take?
Our goal is to get people back to the activities they love engaging in as part of their active lifestyle. This includes alleviating pain and improving function and strength. Frequently, patients will be able to return to those activities, although there might be some restrictions. The goal is to improve quality of life within safe parameters for the hip joint and the patient overall.
Will I still need a joint replacement?
By the time patients present, often some form of damage has occurred and will not be reversible. The goal is to restore, preserve or maintain as much function as possible in order to extend the longevity of patients’ own hip. Often, though, this might not be possible and joint replacement, one of the most successful modern day surgeries overall, may present as the best option.