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Living with osteoporosis

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Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans with osteoarthritis must undergo hip replacement surgery.

When all other options for treating severe osteoarthritis of the hip have been exhausted, artificial hip joints offer a solution with a high rate of success. But how should you prepare for this major operation, and what can you do afterwards, to protect the new joint and keep it intact for years to come?

The American Arthritis Society has compiled useful and practical tips for self-care and made them available on its Web site. Developed with the help of some of the world’s leading hip surgeons, each tip is easy to follow and can be very helpful in preparing for your operation. The tips include:

The hybrid type – the past decade, many orthopedic surgeons have recommended “hybrid hips,” in which the socket portion of the joint was inserted without bone cement.

Risk of HIV from operations – after the occurrence of a few isolated cases of HIV infection due to blood transfusions; rigorous testing was implemented that has made transfusions extremely safe. Still,

Nevertheless, they are major surgery, and it is important to be well informed.

Waiting time – once the decision has been made to have surgery, the date for the operation can be scheduled. Any waiting time can be put to good use preparing yourself for surgery as much as possible, including weight loss if necessary.

Post-operative treatment – post-operative treatment should also be carefully considered and planned in advance. It usually starts in the hospital the day after surgery and continues beyond discharge.

Is an allergic reaction possible? Today’s artificial joints are made of materials that very seldom produce an allergic reaction. For this reason, and since in any case skin testing cannot predict allergic reactions to metals in replacement joints, allergy testing prior to surgery is generally not recommended.

What is “heterotopic ossification?” If new bone forms in the area surrounding the prosthetic joint, it can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of the operation and increasingly inhibit your regained mobility. The exact causes of this process, which doctors call “heterotopic ossification,” are not yet fully understood. However, the use of anti-inflammatory medications taken immediately after the operation has proven successful in reducing the frequency of this serious complication.

Caution: don’t overstress your heart- in the weeks following your operation, it is important to become active without putting too much strain on your heart.

For more information visit www.americanarthritis.org/portal/login_press.php.

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