Don’t miss out on family time: Take advantage of advancements in hip replacement technology and procedure

Originally published in the Williamson Herald

The holiday season is a time for giving, gratitude and spending quality time with family. However, when debilitating pain hinders your ability to make memories with loved ones, it could be time to make a change. 

After recently moving to Middle Tennessee to be closer to his own loved ones, Dr. Preet Gurusamy, Bone and Joint Institute’s newest orthopaedic surgeon, knows just how important family can be. Many people put off procedures like hip replacements, Dr. Gurusamy says, because they are concerned about the surgery, pain or recovery. But, with advancements in technology, the providers at Bone and Joint Institute can get you back to spending time with family before you know it. 

“Hip replacement is one of the most successful procedures in medicine in terms of providing patient satisfaction and quality of life years,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “Fortunately, we’ve seen a lot of improvement in technology in recent years.”

For most people, a hip replacement is necessary when the femoral head and socket of the hip joint have been badly damaged due to arthritis. Surgeons can replace damaged socket cartilage with metal and the femoral head with a metal stem and ball to recreate the normal motion of the hip.  

“A surface made of plastic and ceramic allows the ball and socket to glide smoothly,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “This eliminates pain and allows the patient to regain range of motion in that joint.”

Of course, not every patient with arthritis requires surgery. The first line of treatment should always be nonsurgical. Treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications and injections can be successful in treating arthritis pain. Weight loss and routine exercising can also reduce pain in some instances. 

“Be sure to talk to your surgeon if your hip pain is affecting your life,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “If your disability affects your ability to play with kids or grandkids, go up and down stairs or even put on your shoes, surgery may be your best option. Even though hip replacements are now very common, there are many misconceptions surrounding the procedure.

“Most people think that hip replacements are only for elderly or debilitated patients, and that’s not always true,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “It can benefit a variety of patients experiencing long-term pain.”

Although the average age for this type of procedure is 60-80 years old, the providers at Bone and Joint Institute often see patients outside of that age range who need replacement surgery for a variety of conditions. 

Another common misconception has to do with recovery time, Dr. Gurusamy says.

“In the past, recovery from hip replacement was a lot longer,” he said. “However, the advancements we’ve made have drastically shortened recovery time.”

Dr. Gurusamy and his team continue to see more and more patients standing up, walking around and even being able to go home the same day as surgery. 

New methods of administering anesthesia and pain control contribute to a faster recovery. Instead of using general anesthesia as was standard in the past, more hip replacements are done using spinal anesthesia, which numbs the legs, in conjunction with regional anesthesia and other numbing medications around the surgical site.

“This technique allows us to deliver the medication in a very direct and controlled way,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “It allows our patients to get up faster and get back to what they enjoy doing sooner.”

Advanced surgical materials also help make the results of hip replacement surgery last even longer.  

“The technology behind the plastic that we’re using now is so advanced that the wear pattern has significantly decreased,” said Dr. Gurusamy. “Replacements hips are lasting anywhere from 20-30 years now, giving people new perspective on life.”

Advancements in technology, new approaches to administering medication and physical therapy, and the knowledgeable surgeons at Bone and Joint make hip and arthritis pain manageable by providing a variety of treatment plans tailored to each patient—helping you get back to spending quality time with your family. 

“If you want to eliminate hip pain and get back to spending pain-free time with family around the holidays, the providers at Bone and Joint Institute want to help,” said Dr Gurusamy.