Expires end of January 2021
This document 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 more 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, which can interfere with normal activities.
What are the benefits of surgery?
You should get 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 of arthritis.
Using a walking stick on the opposite side to the affected hip can make walking easier, as can a small shoe-raise on the affected side.
Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness in your hip. Physiotherapy may help to strengthen weak muscles.
A steroid injection into your hip joint can sometimes reduce pain and stiffness for several months.
What does the operation involve?
Various anaesthetic techniques are possible.
The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.
Your surgeon will make a cut on the side of your hip and remove the damaged ball and socket of your hip. They will then insert an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. The implant is fixed into the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings that bond directly to the bone.
What complications can happen?
Some complications can be serious and even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Unsightly scarring of your skin
- Blood clot in your leg
- Blood clot in your lung
- Difficulty passing urine
- Chest infection
- Heart attack
Specific complications of this operation
- Split in the femur
- Infection in your hip
- Damage to blood vessels
- Loosening without infection
- Damage to nerves around your hip
- Bone forming in muscles around your hip replacement
- Dislocation of your hip replacement
- Leg length difference
How soon will I recover?
You can go home when your pain is under control, you can get about safely, and any care you may need has been arranged.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Most people make a good recovery, have less pain, and can move about better. It is important to follow the advice the physiotherapist gives you about exercises to strengthen your hip muscles.
A hip replacement can wear out with time.
If you have severe pain, stiffness and disability, a hip replacement should reduce your pain and help you to walk more easily.
Author: Mr Stephen Milner DM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.