If you have osteoarthritis of the hip, you may be offered hip injections as a treatment. These are injections of steroid and anaesthetic that are given directly into the joint to bring potentially long-lasting relief from the pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
Pain relief can last up to six months after the injection. Due to the fact that inflammation will be reduced, many patients experience an increase in their mobility.
This injection can be offered as an alternative to hip replacement if your osteoarthritis isn’t severe enough to warrant surgery or if you are young and wish to defer surgery. It has the potential to delay surgery for several years.
How a hip injection is given
The injection should be given in an operating room to avoid infection. A long, fine needle is passed through the groin to the hip joint, guided by X-ray. A mixture of steroid and anaesthetic is then injected into the affected joint.
Some hospitals give the patient a local anaesthetic injection first, as the needle is long and goes deep into the joint, which is painful. Other hospitals don’t give any local anaesthetic and some give them under a general anaesthetic as a day case surgery. It depends on the policy of the hospital you choose and the doctor’s preference. You may be able to request how you want the procedure to be carried out.
If you have had a general anaesthetic you will have to have someone stay with you for 24 hours after the procedure when you go home. If that is not possible, you will be required to stay overnight at the hospital.
After the injection
If you have had a general anaesthetic, you will wake up in the recovery room with an oxygen mask over your face to aid you in waking up. The nurse will monitor your blood pressure frequently until he or she is happy with your condition and then you will be transferred to a ward. You will usually be allowed to go home after eating food and using the restroom, unless you are staying overnight.
If you have had a local anaesthetic administered to your hip, you will not be able to feel any post-injection pain for several hours after the procedure.