What You Should Know About Hip Replacements
Hip replacement surgery can improve functionality and relieve pain. Learn more about your options.
Hip replacement surgery can help increase mobility and relieve pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 332,000 hip replacements are performed each year in the U.S.
Learn more about your options to decide if hip replacement surgery is something that could benefit you.
Should You Consider Hip Replacement?
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines a hip replacement as a surgical procedure in which the damaged parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts, called prostheses.
The procedure is for those who have a damaged hip joint that causes pain and makes everyday activities more difficult. Osteoarthritis is the most common culprit, though it can also be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis or an injury.
In the past, hip replacement surgery was primarily performed on older adults with the average hip replacement age being around 65. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “The thinking was that older people typically are less active and put less stress on the artificial hip than do younger people.”
But, as technology has improved the ability to make more resilient artificial parts, it’s now increasingly performed on younger people.
People for whom the surgery is often discouraged are those with conditions that cause considerable muscle weakness, like Parkinson’s disease, and those with a high risk of infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average length of stay after total hip replacement surgery among those aged 45 and over decreased between 2000 and 2010 from five days to four days.
Consider Your Alternatives
There are less extreme methods of treatment that should be considered before deciding to have a hip replaced. Exercise or physical therapy may be sufficient. Use of a cane or walker might also be a suitable option.
There are also medications that may improve hip functionality and relieve the pain. These include over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, though sometimes stronger drugs are prescribed.
You and your doctor can work together to decide the best option for you.
Original Medicare may cover your hip replacement surgery if it is considered medically necessary by your doctor.
But keep in mind that even if your hip replacement surgery is covered by Medicare, you may still have to pay your Part A and/or Part B deductibles before Medicare will pay its share. You will also likely have coinsurance and copayments to pay.
Learn more about common procedures that medicare covers.
To learn what other types of services may be covered by Medicare, refer to our guide, What Does Original Medicare Cover?