Symptoms that usually lead to a hip replacement include pain that resists painkillers, pain that worsens with walking despite canes or walkers, pain that interferes with sleep, diminished ability to handle stairs or difficulty standing, says Mayo Clinic. These symptoms must be severe enough to justify the risks of surgery.
The most common conditions that lead to the need for hip replacement are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteonecrosis, says Mayo Clinic. Osteoarthritis is caused by damage to the cartilage that pads the hip. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune reaction, where a person's own immune system attacks the joints. Osteonecrosis is due to an inadequate blood supply to the bones, which leads to their damage and deformation.
Hip replacement surgery does have its risks, according to Mayo Clinic. Blood clots can form in the legs after surgery, which are dangerous because they can break free and travel to vital organs such as the lungs. Surgery opens the body to infection. Surgery to replace a hip may inadvertently fracture healthy portions of the bones. Occasionally, a hip replacement can cause the lengths of each leg to be different. There is also a chance that the new hip does not bond well to the existing bone structure and loosens over time, requiring further surgery.