Q: I have hip osteoarthritis. Will I need hip replacement surgery?
A: Many patients with hip osteoarthritis (OA) can relieve pain and improve mobility with nonsurgical therapies, according to recent criteria established by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
An AAOS panel conducted a comprehensive review of the scientific research on nonsurgical treatments for hip OA and published its findings in an 850-page report. The panel found “strong evidence” that both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, celecoxib, and diclofenac, as well as intra-articular injections of corticosteroids, can provide short-term pain relief and improve function.
Moreover, studies offer similarly strong support for physical therapy as an intervention in patients with mild to moderate symptoms of hip OA. Meanwhile, the AAOS gave thumbs down to a few nonsurgical approaches to treating OA, including glucosamine dietary supplements and intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid.
The AAOS also found limited or moderate evidence that people who are obese, smoke, or have psychiatric disorders such as depression are at higher risk for poor outcomes and complications (such as infections) following hip-replacement surgery. If you are considering surgery, keep these factors in mind before deciding to go under the knife.
This article first appeared in the 2019 UC Berkeley Arthritis White Paper.