Advances in hip replacements make recovery from surgery much easier

Harlan Selesnick, M.D.
·1 min read

Q. My mother has a history of left hip arthritis. She has severe pain while walking and sitting and cannot find a comfortable position to sleep in at night. She has tried physical therapy and cortisone injections, which helped only temporarily.

The doctor says my mother’s only option is a hip replacement or to live with the pain. How difficult is a hip replacement and what is the recovery like?

A. The most common reason to perform hip-replacement surgery is when the patient reaches the point that they can no longer live with the hip pain.

Technically, hip replacements have improved dramatically in the last few years. Most patients are candidates for the minimally invasive approach performed under X-ray control through a small incision in the front of the hip. This cuts down on the post-op pain and allows most hip-replacement surgery to be done on an outpatient basis.

This anterior surgical approach also allows walking on the hip from day one and decreases the risk of post-op dislocations. Most patients require a walker for one to two weeks post op to aid with ambulation.

Physical therapy is necessary to aid in gait training and strengthening for usually four to six weeks post surgery. Your mother may want to talk further with the surgeon as to what she is likely to experience. Most patients are very happy after they receive their “new hip.”

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to