Hip replacement surgery

In a total hip replacement, an artificial joint replaces both the ball (femoral or thigh bone) side of the hip joint and the socket (acetabular or pelvic side).

This page is for patients who have chosen to have hip replacement surgery because of degeneration such as arthritis.

If you have fallen and fractured your hip, find out more about your injury and the type of operation you may need.

Get information

Would I benefit from hip replacement surgery?

People with severe arthritis usually benefit from hip replacement surgery but there are other reasons why you might need it. Surgery stops most, if not all pain in your hip.

The majority of people who have surgery feel free from pain and hip arthritis disability. They also feel more independent.

What happens during hip replacement surgery?

Watch this video to find out what happens during hip replacement surgery.

What are the risks of surgery?

As with all operations, there are risks involved. There’s a low risk of serious complications, estimated to be less than one in 100 people.

Your surgeon will answer any questions you have and discuss the risks with you before your surgery to make sure you fully understand them.

These risks include:

Blood clots

Also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can form in the veins, usually your leg, after surgery. Because you’ll be moving less than normal after your operation, you’re at a higher risk of developing DVT.

You may need to take medication to reduce this risk.

More information about DVT

Watch this video about how to prevent DVT.

Learn more about DVT including symptoms and how to treat it.


This is usually minor which your surgeon stops during the operation.


Your hip will feel sore after the operation but we’ll give you painkillers. Pain normally improves with time and for most people the hip will become pain free.

Implant wear and loosening

With modern operating techniques and implants, we expect your new hip to last more than 15 years. In some cases the implants may wear or loosen and may need further surgery for infection or instability.

Known as revision surgery, the surgeon will remove your original joint implant and replace it with a new one.

Joint dislocation

The muscles and ligaments around the hip hold the two sides of a hip replacement together. They can dislocate, particularly in the first few weeks after surgery. If this happens, the joint can usually be put back into place under general anaesthetic.


To minimise the risk of infection we use ultra clean air theatres. Our surgical team take special precautions including gowning and draping but some infections can still happen. If the wound becomes red or hot, it may be a sign of infection. If you develop any of these symptoms please contact the orthopaedic ward on 01736 758812 or call your GP.

Nerve damage

In rare cases, surgery can cause damage to the nerves around the hip joint including injury, stretching or cutting.

Preparing for your operation

Before your operation you must attend a pre-admission clinic to assess your health and fitness. You’ll also get information about your operation and what you need to bring with you for your stay in hospital. This includes:

  • crutches
  • operation booklet
  • long handled grabber (helping hand) and a shoe horn
  • loose night and day wear.

We’ll give you the relevant equipment before your admission to hospital.

You’ll also need to attend our joint school. It’s an educational session that will help you prepare for your surgery and learn more about what to expect.

It’s also important to plan your discharge from the hospital before surgery to prevent any delays in getting home.

Enhanced recovery after surgery

The rapid recovery programme helps you prepare for your surgery, recover more quickly and let you get back to normal life and activities as soon as possible.

Watch this introductory video which explains what to expect from the rapid recovery programme for joint replacement.

Watch the following videos which will help you prepare for your surgery:

Watch this video on getting fit for your operation and managing your lifestyle.

Learn how to do hip exercises to help your recovery.

Find out how to make preparations at home before your surgery.

During your stay in hospital

Where do I need to go for my surgery?

Your operation letter will tell you what time to arrive and where to go for your surgery.

Your operation

Your hip replacement surgery usually takes around 1 to 2 hours under a spinal anaesthetic and light sedation. After the operation, you’ll wake up in the recovery area before being moved to the orthopaedic ward.

Find out more about your stay in hospital for a hip replacement operation.

What happens after my operation?

You’ll be encouraged to move around as soon as possible on the day of your operation to prevent DVT and maximise your recovery.

We will encourage you to wash and dress almost straight after surgery and you will be encouraged to do this independently where possible.

You will need to have an X-ray and a blood test before you go home.

A physiotherapist will ensure you can walk, climb stairs (where appropriate) and can do your exercises independently.

An occupational therapist will discuss your home circumstances with you to ensure you can manage and have enough support in place. They will provide you with any equipment you need.

Watch this video about what happens during your stay in hospital.

Watch this video about exercising after your operation.

How long will I stay in hospital?

It’s likely you can leave hospital 1 to 2 days after your surgery if there are no complications and you’re fit enough to go home.

Leaving hospital after your operation

During the first 6 weeks after your hip replacement surgery, you must take extra care with your new hip and follow advice from our clinical team.

Find out more about looking after your new hip.

You’ll need to use crutches to help you walk for around 6 weeks after your operation and follow the advice from our clinical team.

You’ll see your consultant or a member of their team 6 to 12 weeks after your surgery. You will normally have an X-ray which we’ll review at this appointment. If the consultant is happy with your X-ray, you will not usually need any further follow up.

You will not need to see a physiotherapist or occupational therapist after you leave hospital. If you need more support, we will assess this based on your individual needs.

Who can I call for advice about my hip replacement surgery?

For concerns about your hip replacement and signs of infection after your operation

St Joseph’s Ward
St Michael’s Hospital
01736 758812

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