It can be difficult when you require a replacement of more than one joint. Many suffer from both knee and hip pain and need replacements for both. When you are in this situation, which one do you replace first? Does it matter? The answer from a knee and hip surgeon is yes.
Biggest Problem First
When you have trouble with more than one joint that needs to be replaced, whichever joint has the most symptoms should be first in line.
However, if your symptoms for both joints are about the same, it is recommended to do the hip replacement procedure first. A hip replacement will generally need about six weeks of recovery plus rehabilitation. You should be able to go ahead with your knee replacement after that, depending on your circumstances and recovery time.
Hip vs. Knee
Hip replacement surgery is more straightforward than knee replacement surgery. The hip joint is a simple ball and a socket structure. To create and insert parts that joint effectively is a reasonably uncomplicated process.
The knee joint, however, is more complex. The knee joint structure allows for a broader range of motion and more flexibility. The technique for replacing a knee can be more complicated, and the recovery is slower than a hip replacement. That being said, knee replacements, though more complicated, are generally very successful.
Another reason to perform a hip replacement first is that chronic pain in the hip can cause pain in other joints. This pain is called "referred pain." A successful hip replacement could decrease the knee's pain to the point where any pain could be managed non-surgically, like physical therapy. A knee replacement could be rendered unnecessary.
For a joint replacement, parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with metal, plastic, or ceramic parts. The inserted prosthetic can help replicate the movements of a healthy joint and lessen pain. Joint replacement surgeries are some of the most common procedures done in the United States, at about 700,000 a year for the knee and 400,000 for the hip. If you decide to proceed, know that this surgery has a high record of success.