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Questions to Ask Before Your Hip Surgery

Dr. Drew Burleson, a hip surgeon at Beacon Orthopaedics in Miamisburg, lets patients know what questions they should ask before agreeing to hip surgery.

The decision to have hip surgery can be a daunting one.  Fortunately, advancements in arthroscopes, traction tables, and other medical technology are leading to better outcomes and shorter recovery times.  Still, surgical techniques and hip surgeons are not all created equal.  It is important to understand who will be performing the surgery, what the recovery timeline looks like, and even have a basic understanding of the technology being used.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to medical school and complete a surgical residency to educate yourself.  Instead, you can rely on the expertise of a sub-specialty trained, board-certified orthopaedic hip surgeon.  In addition to his extensive training, Dr. Drew Burleson treats athletes of all levels (high school, college, amateur, and professional) as well as active adults.  He operates both at the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and in the operating rooms at the some of the region’s major hospitals.

Doctors want patients to understand their care, and they agree that it is important for patients to be their own advocates.  It is a good idea to remember that your orthopaedic surgeon wants to help you in the best way possible, so if they are recommending surgery it probably is the best treatment plan.  However, making the decision can still be challenging, and patients often don’t know where to begin with questions.

5 simple questions to help you start the conversation with your doctor as you consider arthroscopic hip surgery:

  • Does the surgical team specialize in orthopaedics?

Many hospital surgical teams see everything from adenoid removals to appendectomies to knee replacements, with a few hip arthroscopies a year.  While the breadth of experience is certainly vast, it is preferable to have specialized experts on your team.  If you are having a hip procedure done, you want a surgical team (nurses, surgical techs, physician assistants, and so on) that do hundreds or thousands of hip procedures every year.

  • What training and experience does the doctor performing the surgery have?

Understanding your surgeon’s background and specialization is crucial when it comes to making the decision to trust him or her with your surgery or to go somewhere else.  Knowing if your surgeon is board-certified, if they completed a hip surgery or orthopaedic fellowship, and what types of cases they usually treat are all important.

This also ensures that you know who will be performing the surgery.  At many teaching hospitals, a resident or fellow will be performing the surgery as part of their training.  Obviously, a resident won’t be board certified yet and they will have minimal comparative experience.  Asking this question can help you trust your care to someone with related specialization, board certification, and hundreds of hip arthroscopies under their belt.

  • What will likely happen if I choose not to have surgery?

Most orthopaedic surgeons will only recommend surgery when it is the most effective method of treatment.  Still, if you have other health conditions that may make recovery from surgery challenging, or if you want to explore other treatment options such as injections or physical therapy, it is worth asking your doctor’s opinion.  This will also help clarify what exactly the surgery will accomplish.  Usually, surgery is only offered as a last resort when rest, physical therapy, and injections are insufficient.

  • Which traction table is being used?

For decades, traction tables for hip arthroscopy relied on a center pole.  Pulling against this pole sometimes lead to groin numbness or discomfort.  While many orthopaedic specialty surgery centers have upgraded to modern traction tables (such as the Stryker Pivot Guardian table), many large hospital systems are still using the old technology.  If a hip arthroscopy can be performed without the use of a center pole traction table, it makes sense to avoid any potential complications that may result.

  • What can I do to expedite recovery or reduce the likelihood of reinjury?

For the first couple of weeks following your procedure, common activities such as sleeping posture, standing for long periods of time, stretching, and so on may slow down recovery or even lead to reinjury.  This will depend on the specifics of your medical history and your surgery, but it helps to understand what you should and should not do following your arthroscopy.

Your surgeon will most likely recommend 3-6 weeks of physical therapy post-surgery.  Often light stretching and specific movements can help speed up the recovery process, but it is important not to overdo it.  Your surgeon or physical therapist may have some suggestions for additional activities you can try to reduce the probability of reinjury.

For more information

If you are suffering from hip pain, a hip arthroscopy may be the best solution.  Dr. Drew Burleson is a sub-specialty trained, board certified orthopaedic hip specialist.  His surgical team specializes in orthopaedic procedures and perform thousands of operations every year.  Dr. Burleson would be happy to make an effective, personalized treatment recommendation for you.  Don’t let hip pain keep you from an active, pain-free lifestyle!  Take the first step toward feeling better and schedule your appointment with Dr. Drew Burleson at Beacon Orthopaedics.  You may also schedule by phone 24/7 at (513) 354-3700.