Preparing for a Total Hip Replacement

Osteoarthritis is the Most Common Reason for Needing a Total Hip Replacement

Advanced osteoarthritis of the hip is the most common reason for needing a total hip replacement. Other reasons can be from a fall or accident that leads to a hip fracture.

Most Seniors are Affected by Osteoarthritis by Age 70

Most seniors are affected by osteoarthritis by age 70. Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease because it destroys cartilage in the joints. As the cartilage which acts as a cushion in the joints between the bones breaks down, it can reach a point where none is left and bone begins to rub against bone leading to extreme pain. The weight-bearing joints are most commonly affected such as the spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Obesity makes osteoarthritis worse. To date, no real cure has been found for osteoarthritis and it is usually progressive.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness, especially after getting out of bed in the morning
  • Inflammation

What is a Total Hip Replacement?

A total hip replacement (hip arthroplasty) involves surgically removing a damaged hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint that may be made from metal, ceramics, plastic or a combination of materials. The hip joint is the longest joint in the body. The surgery may take 2-3 hours. Total hip replacement surgery is usually performed when all other non-surgical treatments fail to give enough relief from pain. However, while a successful total hip replacement can help you to walk again without pain and may improve the quality of life, it does not cure osteoarthritis.

Non-surgical Treatments to Control Pain of Osteoarthritis

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may provide temporary pain relief, but they are unable to stop the process of cartilage erosion. Also, NSAIDs have dangerous side effects, especially when used over a long period of time such as heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure, bleeding ulcers and bleeding in the brain that can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy and physical exercise, especially water therapy and swimming can also help to manage the pain of osteoarthritis.

Hot Minteral Springs and Sulfur Baths

Hot mineral springs and sulfur baths can give people with osteoarthritis a lot of relief.

Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO)

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains a substance called oleocanthol which acts like ibuprofen, but does not have the same dangerous side effects. Just the opposite, in fact, as EVOO has been scientifically proven to prevent heart disease. EVOO can also be massaged into the inflamed joints.


Acupuncture has been shown to help many who suffer from osteoarthritis and this is a safe non-pharmacological way to deal with pain.

Sulforaphane in Broccoli and Cruciferous Vegetables

Research has shown that a substance in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts called sulforaphane can prevent cartilage degeneration from osteoarthritis.

Walking Aids

Walking aids like using a cane, crutch or walker can help with walking and in fact can sometimes stop the progression of the hip arthritis.

Memory Foam Mattress

A memory foam mattress can ease pressure points when resting or sleeping.

Lose Weight

Losing weight can also give a lot of relief especially to the weight-bearing joints.

Soft Chair with Memory Foam Cushion

Sitting in a soft chair rather than a hard one can help, especially if it has a memory foam cushion on it.

Total Hip Replacement can Improve Quality of Life

The purpose of a total hip replacement to get a new hip joint is to restore the ability to walk without pain and improve the function of the hip. This can lead to improving quality of life and it may be possible to walk without a cane or walker.

Some Seniors do not Qualify for a Total Hip Replacement

Seniors who are very weak and frail and/or have other health problems may not be able to have a total hip replacement under general anesthesia.

Success of Total Hip Replacement Surgery Depends on Rehabilitation

The success of total hip replacement surgery is dependent on rehabilitation after the surgery. It is imperative to enter a rehabilitation program of physical exercises and to stick to this. In fact, you should choose a rehabilitation program before you have the surgery.

Steps to Take before the Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Ask the surgeon as many questions as you need to. Ask about any possible risks, especially with the anesthesia. Ask the doctor what pre-surgery things you must do. He may give a list of certain kinds of drugs and tell you when to stop taking them before the operation. These are especially likely to be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen taken for managing pain and swelling from  arthritis. NSAIDs  have anticoagulant properties that can interfere with normal blood clotting. If you are taking very strong opioids for pain, your doctor may also tell you that you need to cut down on them gradually and be completely free of them by the time of the operation. Your doctor may also tell you when to stop drinking alcoholic drinks.

Tell your Doctor if you are Taking Medicinal Herbs

Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any medicinal herbs, as many of these can also interfere with normal blood clotting such as ginger, ginkgo, licorice root and more. Also, sedative herbs can interact dangerously with the anesthesia. Even some vegetables like purslane can cause very serious bleeding.

Donate your Blood before the Operation

You may be advised to donate your own blood before the operation, so in case you need blood your own blood may be given to you.

Quit Smoking

Your doctor may advise you to quit smoking before the operation.

Let other Doctors Know about the Total Hip Replacement Surgery

If you suffer from other chronic or serious diseases, you should confer with other doctors who treat you to let them know you are going to have a total hip replacement operation.

Cane or Walker after the Surgery

After the surgery you or your loved one will need a cane or walker to get around, which you may be able to get from the hospital. It is a good idea to practice using these devices before you have the operation.


Make arrangements for rehabilitation that you or your loved one will need after the surgery. The sooner rehabilitation is begun and it should begin in the hospital, the sooner will be the recovery. You might decide the best option for you or your loved one is to go to a short-term rehab such as the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey. Park Crescent offers expert rehabilitation after a total hip replacement operation and they have a state-of-the-art gym. Park Crescent also offers fine dining with nutritious and delicious cuisine. Park Crescent also has a fantastic array of recreational activities.


Osteoarthritis is the main reason for most hip replacement operations. Hip replacement surgery, when successful, can do a lot to help regain good motor function. However, this will not cure osteoarthritis and it pays to do as much as possible to stop the progress of osteoarthritis, so that you will not need to have another total hip replacement surgery or a total knee replacement (TKR).

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