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Hip replacement


About hip replacement

Your hip is a ball and socket joint. The ball is located at the top of your thigh bone (femur) and the socket on your pelvis (acetabulum).

If you develop long-lasting hip pain that can’t be relieved with medication, and it continues to affect your life, your doctor might recommend a hip replacement. Hip pain can develop for several reasons, including different types of arthritis, a hip injury or a fracture after a fall.

During a hip replacement, sometimes called total hip replacement or hip replacement surgery, your hip joint is replaced with an artificial (prosthetic) one. There are many variations in the design of these components, and they can be constructed from metal, ceramic or plastic.

Hip replacement

How can I prepare for hip replacement?

Before you undergo hip replacement, your doctor will ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo surgery. If you are able to have the surgery, your doctor will tell you about the procedure so that you can understand what he or she is planning and what type of prosthetic hip joint will be used.

Before the operation, you can prepare to make your life easier during your recovery. You will need to use crutches or a walker to move around, so it can be useful to arrange for a friend, a family member or a carer to help you with tasks such as shopping, bathing and laundry during this time.

You may also want to consider some changes to your home to help during recovery. Useful modifications include handrails for your bath, shower and staircase. 

What happens during my treatment?

Hip replacement surgery is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic. This means you will be asleep during the procedure. However, it is sometimes carried out while you awake after a spinal injection to stop any pain in your legs.

During a hip replacement, your doctor will remove the ball component of your hip joint at the top of the femur, along with any damaged cartilage and bone in the socket.

He or she will then put the prosthetic ball and sockets in their place.The whole procedure usually takes a few hours.

Are there any complications or risks with hip replacement?

Like any procedure, surgery for a hip replacement carries some risks, including infection and bleeding. However, serious complications happen in less than 2% of patients.

One of the most common complications of hip surgery is developing a blood clot.This can be prevented through wearing leg compression stockings, taking blood thinning medications and ensuring that you start moving soon after surgery. Talk to your doctor for more information about the risks involved with your procedure.

Recovering from hip replacement

You're likely to stay in hospital for a few days after the operation.

Most patients will be encouraged to stand up and walk with the help of crutches or a walker the day after surgery.

When you go home, your doctor will give you physical therapy exercises to perform. These will help strengthen your hip and legs. How fast you recover can depend on how well you follow these and other directions from your doctor.

Talk to your doctor about the steps you can take to help you recover as best as possible.

How much does hip replacement cost?

For a guide to what you could pay for your treatment, click here.

What to do now

Once you have decided that you would like to be treated at an HCA hospital, or would like further information, here's what to do next:

  1. Call one of our advisors on + 44 (0) 20 7079 4399 or complete our web enquiry form.
  2. Check with your insurance company that your policy covers your treatment, and obtain authorisation.
  3. Visit or call your GP to obtain a referral letter and then call us to make an appointment to visit your chosen consultant and hospital at a time to suit you.
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