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Hip replacement is one of the most reliablesurgical procedures in the world, in which the hip joint is replaced by aprosthetic implant. It can be performed as a total replacement or a semi (half)replacement, and carries a 97% positive outcome rate. The procedure is usuallyperformed in order to relieve arthritis pain or fix severe physical jointdamage as a part of the hip fracture treatment. A total hip replacement (total hiparthroplasty) is performed by replacing both the acetabulum and the femoralhead. In the case of hemiarthroplasty the femoral head is usually the onlything replaced.

Total HipReplacement

Total hipreplacement is usually used to treat joint failure caused by osteoarthritis, andis usually performed on patients whose hip has been so damaged that pain limitsthe patients daily activities. Further reasons to undergo total hip replacementinclude rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, traumatic arthritis,protrusio acetabuli, certain hip fractures, benign and malignant bone tumors,arthritis associated with Paget's disease, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenilerheumatoid arthritis. The procedure is aimed at relieving the pain and improving the hipfunction. Though highly successful, the operation is only considered once otheroptions such as physical therapy and pain medications have failed. There is a slight chance (2%) of jointinfection after hip surgery, with other complications such as heart attack andstroke being even rarer.

After an initialevaluation by an orthopedic surgeon, medical history and X-ray recording, and aslew of other possible test such as MRI, the doctor will create a list ofpreparations for the surgery, if it is judged that hip replacement is the rightstep of the patient. In this case, other steps such as blood tests and a weightloss regime might be taken to prepare for surgery. The patient might need tostay in the hospital a couple of days after surgery. Specialized gear such as shower handrails,stair handrails, a cushion and reachers should be purchased to aid recovery. Itis highly recommended to search for a surgeon with experience performing hipreplacements, and is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

Hipreplacement pricing

Total hip replacement most commonly costsbetween $31,839 and $44,816 for patients without health insurance. According toBlue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the average cost is $39,299 butcertain medical facilities offer uninsured discounts. At the Kapiolani MedicalCenter in Aiea, Hawaii, an uninsured patient would pay a discounted rate of $20,212to $23,581, where the price is normally around $33,000. The American Academy ofOrthopedic Surgeons offers an overview of hip replacement surgery.

Accordingto DePuy Orthopedics, a major manufacturer of orthopedic devices, hipreplacement surgery is commonly covered by health insurance. Blue Cross BlueShield of Kansas claim that any surgery deemed necessary, including hipreplacement, is covered unless it is experimental or covered in a specificexclusion.

Patientswith health insurance typically either pay out-of-pocket expenses that range upto several thousand dollars, or their out-of-pocket maximum. At Dartmought-HitchcockMedical Center, a Medicare patient could pay up to$3,957, but a patient withhealth insurance that has typical 20 percent co-pay for surgeries and a $3,000out-of-pocket maximum would pay the full $3,000 at DHMC.

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