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A Side Benefit of Hip Replacement Surgery: Less Back Pain

Summit total knee and total hip replacement specialist Matthew Nies, M.D., discusses emerging research in orthopedics.

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful procedures in medicine. More than 90 percent of patients who have had this surgery are happy they had it and would do it again. Patients have excellent outcomes. However, orthopedic surgeons and researchers are always looking to improve, even within a successful surgical procedure.

In the field of hip replacement research, experts seek to better understand how to reduce the chance of hip dislocation after hip replacement surgery. One thing researchers are currently studying is the relationship between the spine and the pelvis, where the socket of the hip is located. “The concept of the interrelationship between the pelvis and the spine is an emerging, leading-edge idea in hip replacement,” Dr. Nies said.

New research on hip and back pain

Researchers are finding that different people’s spines move differently, and some of those differences are related to arthritis of the spine. Spinal arthritis can affect how the whole spine-pelvis unit moves. Emerging data may change the way physicians take that interrelationship into account during the total hip replacement surgical planning process.

Now, new research suggests another important side of the connection between hip and spine: that some patients with both back and hip pain found relief from both types of pain after hip replacement surgery. The study followed 500 patients after hip replacement surgery and asked them to evaluate their hip pain and back pain one year after the procedure. Before the hip replacement surgery, nearly half of the patients reported having back pain. One year after the procedure, 82 percent — that’s more than four out of five — of the patients had their back pain completely disappear after surgery.

“This study reinforces the fact that there is an intimate relationship between the hip/pelvis and the spine,” Dr. Nies said.

Back pain relief may be an added benefit of hip replacement surgery. However, Dr. Nies cautions, “Patients shouldn’t look to have a hip replacement because they have back pain. We need to do hip replacement for the right reasons,” he said.

Another conclusion Dr. Nies points out from this area of research is that doctors and patients “should make sure that the patient’s pain is really coming from the hip. It could also be caused by problems in the spine.”

When to seek treatment for your arthritis

Arthritis doesn’t have to spell the end of an active life. If you are experiencing worrisome symptoms or persistent pain, the renowned arthritis specialists at Summit Orthopedics can help. We work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan. If nonsurgical treatments fail to support your lifestyle goals, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will consult with you and discuss appropriate surgical options. Summit is home to innovative joint replacement options. Our Vadnais Heights Surgery Center is one of a select few nationally to receive The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement.

Start your journey to healthier joints. Find your arthritis expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

 Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MNVadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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