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18 Myths About Hip Replacement


Myth:How can I trust that Virtua is the right place to have hip replacement?

Truth:Virtua was the first healthcare provider in the Northeast to obtain specialty joint replacement certification from the Joint Commission based on outstanding quality. Many patients have put their trust in us. Listen to what they have to say about our surgeons and this procedure in the Our Patients section.

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Myth:My physician said I'm not old enough to consider hip replacement.

Truth:Living with a painful hip because of your age is an outdated way of thinking. Joint replacement isn't about age. It's about joint disease and your quality of life. If your joint doesn't function properly and limits you from working or doing the things you enjoy, then you are not too young to consider joint replacement as an option.

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Myth:I have been told that I have to lie flat for 6 to 8 hours after having spinal anesthesia to prevent getting bad headaches.

Truth:Today's anesthesia techniques and equipment reduce the likelihood of a headache. You'll have some freedom of movement immediately after surgery. In fact, physical therapy will begin the day of surgery.

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Myth:I don't live in South Jersey. It would be inconvenient to travel there to have my surgery.

Truth:A trip to Virtua's nationally renowned Joint Replacement Institute is well worth your time. We can assist you with nearby accommodations, transportation, and other local information to make planning the trip easier for you and your family.

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Myth:It will be months before I can start driving again.

Truth:In general, if you are no longer taking pain relievers and your left hip was replaced, you may be able to drive an automatic transmission after 2 weeks. If your right hip was replaced, you should not drive for 2 to 4 weeks. It typically takes this long to regain the reflexes to fully depress the brake pedal.

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Myth:I'm concerned about longevity. If you have a hip replaced too early, it won't last and you'll eventually have to do it again.

Truth:The longevity of today's hip replacement joints is 15 to 20 years, and in many cases, a lifetime. 95% of all hip replacements are still fine after 15 years and 85% are still fine after 25 years. Most will last a lifetime.

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Myth:What is Virtua's experience?

Truth:Thousands of these procedures have been successfully performed by the Virtua Joint Replacement Institute. Almost 2,000 replacements are performed annually and that number is increasing.

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Myth:I heard that I'll have to go from the hospital to an in-patient rehabilitation facility. I would much rather go home.

Truth:Rehabilitation is very specific to each patient’s circumstances. However, home is often the best place for patients to recover, and we make every effort to get you there as soon as possible. The majority of our patients are discharged to their homes and receive outpatient home care and rehabilitation.

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Myth:I heard I should wait until I can't stand the pain before considering hip replacement surgery. My doctor recommends I stay on pain medication to avoid or delay surgery.

Truth:You don’t need to suffer by waiting until the pain is unbearable. If pain limits your normal activities, you should consider hip replacement. Pain medications can also limit your activities, and they do not improve joint disease. With our minimally invasive techniques, recovery is faster. Additionally, pain medications can be addictive when used for long periods of time, can cause complications, and can make recovery more difficult.

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Myth:I'm afraid I'll have to give up activities and sports.

Truth:You will likely get back to the low-impact activities and sports you love after 4 to 6 weeks. Check with your surgeon about high-impact activities.

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Myth:I heard I'd get a better quality of care at a teaching hospital.

Truth:At Virtua, residents (surgeons in training) do not perform your surgery, as is often the case at teaching hospitals. Our premier surgeons perform hip replacements themselves, so you can be assured you'll receive the highest quality of care from surgeons that have done thousands of procedures. Additionally, our surgeons oversee every aspect of your care, take pride in positive patient outcomes, and actively engage in quality assurance initiatives.

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Myth:I will have to spend several months away from work.

Truth:Our patients say that their new hip is as strong as or stronger than when their hip was healthy. For many patients, rehab after minimally invasive hip replacement is relatively quick and painless compared to older replacement methods. In fact, many people are able to discard their walkers and canes within a week or two of surgery.

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Myth:I've heard there can be complications and risks with joint replacement, like infections or blood clots.

Truth:Instances of complications are very, very rare. The risk of infection is less than 0.5 percent, and the risk of a blood clot is less than 1 percent. Our outcomes are above national averages, especially in the Philadelphia area.

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Myth:I'm worried about scarring. I don't want to have a huge scar.

Truth:Thanks to Virtua's minimally invasive procedure, scarring is drastically minimized compared to traditional procedures. In fact, the scar is typically only 3 to 5 inches long compared to 10 inches with older procedures. As time passes, the scar will heal and fade and is often unnoticeable.

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Myth:My home and/or workplace has stairs. It will be months before I can go up and down stairs on my own.

Truth:Our physical therapists make sure you can go up and down stairs before you leave the hospital. The vast majority of patients go home after surgery, vs. inpatient rehab, even if their home has stairs. But it is a good idea to keep stairs to a minimum for a few weeks.

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Myth:I'll never be able to wear heels again.

Truth:After a successful hip replacement, you can wear whatever shoes you want.

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Myth:I've heard there are weight restrictions. Do I have to lose weight before I can consider hip replacement?

Truth:Determining whether you are a candidate for hip replacement is not based on weight. Many people who are overweight have joint replacement, and have even reported losing weight due to increased mobility.

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Myth:You don’t have the "Top Docs" like Philadelphia hospitals.

Truth:Our surgeons are nationally recognized as pioneers in minimally invasive hip replacement. They have been identified as "Top Docs" in regional publications as well as US News & World Report. Virtua also serves as an international teaching site for minimally invasive joint replacement techniques. Our orthopedics program has been selected as a "Center of Excellence" by Philadelphia magazine.

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