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Ask the expert: Hip replacements

Ask the expert: Hip replacements
We ask Hugh Apthorp, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip replacements at London Bridge Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, everything you need to know about hip replacements
Hugh Apthorp is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hip replacements at London Bridge Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK.

We asked him everything you need to know about hip replacement surgery.

How did you come to specialise in hips?


Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Hugh Apthorp specialises in hip replacements
Sometimes in medicine you come to something that is so interesting and life changing that it gives people their normal life back. When I first became an orthopaedic surgeon, patients were so happy with their hip replacements that I was drawn in.
"Now people play tennis, golf and even kickbox after hip replacements, and the recovery has reduced from nine to two days"
Back then, people would come in in a wheelchair and were just happy to walk to the shop after surgery. Now people play tennis, golf and even kickbox, and the recovery time has reduced from nine to two days.

What are the main hip problems to affect people?

Young woman with hip pain
Hip pain can be caused by a number of conditions. Credit: m-gucci

Younger patients might be born with abnormally shaped joints or suffer trauma, infection or joint inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis. But mostly people have osteoarthritis and suffer pain and stiffness.

What are the causes?

Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear process. Most people who have an arthritic hip might also have a bit of arthritis in their back or knee.
"Now people play tennis, golf and even kickbox after hip replacements, and the recovery has reduced from nine to two days"
However, the hip is often more intrusive and very difficult to live with, becoming painful at night.
 

How can it be treated?

Hip replacement surgery can help people stay active. Credit: Spotmatik
A lot of people in the early stages manage well with painkillers, exercises and physio to keep them moving. But eventually most get to the point where the correct thing is to suggest surgery. Patients who come earlier have a better outcome. If you are fit and active and lose that, you won’t get back to it so easily.
"The operation is much less risky now—we get people up the same day and they go home more quickly"
Anaesthetic techniques have improved and the op is much less risky. We get people up the same day and they go home more quickly, which brings health benefits, including less risk of thrombosis. Choose a surgeon who does mostly hips and ask how many they do.

What can people do to prevent hip issues?

Avoid smoking, keep your weight under control and take regular exercise. Even with a worn hip, you should keep active, as it will last longer. You’re not going to harm yourself by using it.
For more information go to hcahealthcare.co.uk

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