With any broken bone, the medical team will determine if surgery is necessary. Surgery is based on factors like the patient’s age, health, and the severity of the injury. Most cases will need surgery, but some can heal without a hip replacement. The surgeon will usually first perform an X-ray, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine the extent of the injury. The surgeon will recommend conservative treatment if the bone can heal without surgery. Treatment includes rest, pain medication, physical therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), or other non-surgical methods. Healing an injury without surgery can take several weeks to months to return to regular activity.
Turning to surgery
Surgery is often the most effective method of treating hip fractures. Even with non-surgical treatment, patients can experience pain and limited mobility. Surgery reduces the chances of complications and allows a better quality of life. Some surgeons will use a repair technique called internal fixation or hip pinning. A combination of metal screws, pins, and rods holds the hip bone in place to allow healing. Hip pinning can work, but a total hip replacement may be a more effective option.
What should you expect during total hip replacement?
A total hip replacement is typically the most effective option for severe hip fractures. The procedure first removes the damaged ball joint and cartilage. From there, the surgeon installs a prosthetic joint. Prosthetic joints are made of metal, plastic, or ceramic materials. Today, many surgeons use minimally invasive means to promote faster recoveries, fewer scars, and higher success rates. During a minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon operates using tiny tools and cameras inserted through small incisions. After the procedure, physical therapy helps patients return to normal activities.
Finding the right treatment
A hip fracture is painful and severely restricts mobility. Look for symptoms like severe pain, swelling, and limited movement and see a doctor immediately, especially after a fall. For minor fractures, a doctor or orthopedic surgeon may recommend conservative treatment. However, a hip replacement almost always provides the best outcome. A hip replacement provides much-needed relief and mobility for years to come.