Hip Replacement Surgery
This webpage will give you information about a total hip
replacement. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or
other relevant health professional.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause damage to one or
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where there
is gradual wear and tear of a joint. Some other types of arthritis
are associated with inflammation of the joints.
Arthritis eventually wears away the normal cartilage covering
the surface of the joint and the bone underneath becomes damaged.
This causes pain and stiffness in the joint.
What are the benefits of surgery?
If your hip replacement is successful, you should have less pain
and be able to walk more easily.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory
painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain.
Supplements to your diet may also help relieve your symptoms. You
should check with your doctor before you take supplements.
Using a walking stick can make walking easier, as can a small
Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness.
A steroid injection into the hip joint can sometimes reduce pain
All of these measures become less effective as your arthritis
What does the operation involve?
A variety of anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation
usually takes between an hour and an hour and a half.
Your surgeon will make a cut on the side of your hip and remove
the damaged ball and socket. They will replace these with an
artificial ball and socket made of metal, plastic, ceramic, or a
combination of these materials (see figure 1).
Figure 1 - Hip replacement
An acrylic cement or special coatings on the hip replacement
bond it directly to the bone.
What complications can happen?
1 General complications
- Infection in the surgical site (wound)
- Unsightly scarring
- Blood clots
- Difficulty passing urine
- Chest infection
- Heart attack
2 Specific complications
- Split in the femur
- Damage to nerves
- Damage to blood vessels
- Infection in the hip
- Bone forming in muscles around the hip replacement
- Leg length difference
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home after four to seven days.
You will need to use crutches or walking sticks for a few
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities
as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a
member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Most people make a good recovery, have less pain and can move
about better. An artificial hip never feels quite the same as a
normal hip and it is important to look after it in the long
A hip replacement can wear out with time.
In a few cases, arthritis of the hip is the result of a previous
hip injury or rheumatoid arthritis. Usually it happens without a
known cause. If you suffer severe pain, stiffness and disability, a
hip replacement should reduce your pain and help you to walk more
Author: Mr Stephen Milner DM FRCS (Tr. &
Illustrations: LifeART image copyright 2010
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved
This document is intended for information purposes only and
should not replace advice that your relevant health professional
would give you.
Copyright © 2013 EIDO Healthcare Limited
The operation and treatment information on this website is produced
by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Ramsay Health Care
UK. The intellectual property rights to the information belong
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The information should not replace advice that your relevant
health professional would give you.