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.
The majority of people who have surgery feel free from pain and hip arthritis disability. They also feel more independent.
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:
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.
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.
In rare cases, surgery can cause damage to the nerves around the hip joint including injury, stretching or cutting.
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.
Your operation letter will tell you what time to arrive and where to go for your surgery.
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.
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.
For concerns about your hip replacement and signs of infection after your operation
St Joseph’s Ward
St Michael’s Hospital