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Hip Replacement Alternatives

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

A hip replacement procedure is a major surgical operation that is usually only reserved for cases where alternative therapies have failed. Some examples of the alternative approaches to treating damaged or painful hips are described below.

Conservative management

This is the first line of treatment for hip problems. Conservative management involves several therapeutic approaches such as medication, physical therapy and modification of day-to-day activities to try and prevent or delay a hip replacement procedure.

Hip resurfacing

Here, only the damaged surface of bones in the hip joints are removed. These surfaces are then replaced with a metal surface. This approach is more effective in younger adults who have relatively strong bones.

Partial hip replacement or hemiarthroplasty

Hemiarthroplasty involves replacing the surface of one half of the hip joint and leaving the other half in the pre-operative state.

The most common indication for this procedure is fracture to the neck of the femur. The femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal or composite prosthesis. Examples of commonly used prostheses are the Austin Moore device and the Thompson prosthesis.

Viscosupplementation

This refers to the injection of artificial lubricants into the joint, an approach that is currently used on an off-label basis.

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2014

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