Why is it important to get a second opinion for a total hip replacement?

When choosing a hip replacement surgeon you will want to compare two or even three surgeons. Total hip surgery is a major time commitment (you could be recovering for up to two months). It’s also a major lifestyle change, and usually expensive. Getting a second opinion will ultimately help you to gain perspective on the condition you have, possible non-surgical alternatives, and then the specific surgical procedure that is best for you. Revision is sometimes required of hip replacement surgery, but if you can find a good surgeon a second surgery won’t be necessary.

This is an important decision in your life and warrants some thought. Preparing for hip replacement surgery also means educating yourself about your options. For example, a total hip surgery may not be the best solution for younger patients. Hip resurfacing leaves more bone in place, giving patients more time before a total hip surgery becomes necessary.

Even if you and your surgeon have decided that total hip replacement is necessary, you must still consider that each surgeon may have a different idea about how to treat your condition. Surgeons use different approaches. They choose between different implant materials, different sizes of femoral heads, and whether to anchor the hip implant using bone cement fixation or a process called “bone in-growth.” Beyond that, some surgeons use more progressive surgical techniques and technology, while others rely on trusted traditional methods.

For all of these reasons and more, a second opinion will give you better perspective on your hip replacement decision.

Bring a list of questions you prepare ahead of time for your prospective surgeons. Not only will you want to “get to know” your doctor, but you will also want to learn about their past medical experience. A surgeon should not be offended if you ask them about their track record. Take the time to listen to what each surgeon has to say before choosing the right one.

While you’re making your appointments, keep in mind that in-demand surgeons can have schedules booked six months in advance. So start making appointments sooner than later.

image credit: spirit-fire