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Hip Replacement Surgery - 5 Facts You Need to Know

Hip replacement procedures, along with knee replacement procedures are becoming more and more popular as a means to treat joint failures. According to an annual report released by The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR) in 2017, there were 860,080 hip and knee replacement procedures performed between 2012 and 2016 by the 4,755 US surgeons. High patient satisfaction is encouraging more people to choose these procedures. It is estimated that by 2030, the number of total hip replacements performed in the US will increase by almost 200 percent compared to 2005.

With that in mind, let’s get down to the 5 facts you need to know about hip replacement surgery.

READ: Hip Replacement Cost Around The World


What is hip replacement surgery?

The hip joint is basically a ball-and-socket joint that the ball rotates within the socket to let the hip move. These are covered with a layer of smooth cartilage. This cartilage allows the hip joint to move freely.

There are typically two types of hip replacement surgery approach: Traditional and minimally invasive. During traditional hip replacement surgery, the surgeon cuts and removes the damaged bone, along with some soft tissues through a single, long incision. In minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon uses a smaller surgical incision and cuts or detaches fewer muscle around the hip. Despite this difference, both surgeries are technically difficult and provide better outcomes if the surgeon and operating team have considerable experience and rigorous.

Patients that require hip replacement surgery suffer from one or more of these conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Hip fractures
  • Certain bone tumors
  • Traumatic arthritis

A hip replacement is a major surgery, so it is only recommended if other treatments, such as physiotherapy or steroid injections, haven't improved the pain and mobility. You may be eligible for hip replacement surgery if you have vigorous pain and swelling in your hip joint and your mobility is reduced.

Some patients may not be suitable for hip replacement surgery. These individuals often suffer from:

  • Poor general state of health
  • Higher risk of infection
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Any disease that causes severe muscular weakness
READ:  What is Total Knee Replacement?

Partial Hip Replacement VS Total Hip Replacement

There are two types of hip replacement surgery using depends on the needs of the patients. Total hip replacement and partial hip replacement are very different procedures simply because they treat different aspects of a damaged hip joint.

Total hip replacement (or hip arthroplasty) is a frequent orthopedic procedure and, as the population ages, it is estimated that it is going to become increasingly common. It is a good option for patients that suffer from bone diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Replacing the hip joint with an implant or "prosthesis" makes increase your mobility and relieve your pain in order you to resume your normal, everyday activities.

A partial hip replacement surgery is a good option for patients that suffered an injury or fracture of the hip bone, specifically the neck of the femur. In a partial hip replacement procedure, only the head of the femur is replaced because the acetabulum or socket is still healthy and working properly.

Hip Replacement Recovery Period

Patients usually spend between 3 and 5 days in the hospital and then the recovery period can begin. Depending on the surgery type, the success of the therapy and the patient's health, full recovery from the surgery takes between 3 to 6 months.

The patient will be able to sit, stand and walk with some help in just 1-2 days after the surgery. Seeing a physical therapist on the first day after the procedure is essential. With the home exercises taught before and during hospitalization, most patients regain their strength and function without having to go to outpatient physical therapy. They usually gain 80 percent strength within two to three months after surgery; a total recovery may last up to a year.

Other tips after a hip replacement surgery include:

  • Wear an apron around the house – you will have your hands free to use crutches or walkers.
  • Stair climbing should be avoided as much as possible
  • The patient should avoid recliner chairs and go for straight-back chairs
  • Throw rugs should be removed from all the floors as they can be quite slippery
  • The patient should try to put as little pressure as possible on their hips (this includes bending)

After surgery, your risk of falling is high. The surgery itself increases your risk of falling, but you will also be taking a blood-thinning and pain medication, which increase the risk of falling. So, it is important to arrange your environment for you not to fall.

Hip replacement is a successful elective surgical procedure that is generally used to treat disabling joint pain, mainly caused by osteoarthritis. Some patients experience its complications, and one of the most severe is a prosthetic joint infection (PJI). Although uncommon, PJI leads to severe pain and poor function.

READ: Total Hip Replacement Surgery Recovery Time

 Hip Replacement Exercises

Exercises are a good way to reduce stiffness and joint pain after hip replacement surgery. Patients that underwent a hip replacement surgery need physical therapy with a trained professional. The physical therapist will decide when the patient is strong enough to do certain beneficial activities such as:

  • Walking for longer periods of time
  • Road biking
  • Swimming
  • Cross country skiing

The goal of these exercises is to increase blood circulation, increase general muscle strength but also to avoid potential injury to the new joint. Low-intensity exercises such as walking, swimming, golfing and bicycling are very helpful to patients recovering from surgery. On the other hand, it is important to avoid activities which cause impact stress on the joint, such as jogging or jumping and do not participate the sports include contacts, such as football.

Hip Replacement Alternatives

Conservative Management as A Hip Replacement Alternative

Conservative management is primarily composed of physical therapy, activity modification, and medication. The process is highly dependent on the recommendations of surgeons, and it can delay or even prevent the need for hip replacement surgery.


A hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure that involves change half of the hip joint. Hemi means “half” and arthroplasty is the technical term of “joint replacement.”

Usually, the head of the femur is replaced with a composite or metal prosthesis. This hip replacement alternative is only recommended for very old patients, as the prosthesis can actually erode the acetabulum or joint socket even more.

Hip resurfacing

In hip resurfacing, the surgeon does not remove the femoral head; it is trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering instead. Then just as in a traditional total hip replacement, your damaged bone and cartilage within the socket are removed and replaced with a metal shell. Some studies have shown that walking patterns are more natural after hip resurfacing surgery compared to traditional hip replacement. This procedure provides less pain, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time.


This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.


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