Hip replacements - everything you need to know

By Mr Giles Stafford, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, at The Wellington Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK.

Hip replacements may seem like a daunting subject to consider, especially if you are not correctly informed on the most up-to-date methods. Due to rapidly evolving science and technology, hip replacements needn’t be thought of as a scary topic like they once were. As the surgical landscape is evolving, there are more options than ever before and a higher chance that patients will find the best hip treatment to suit them. As everyone’s body differs, the type of replacement that is best for them will differ too. I advise my patients on the most suitable option for them depending on age, body type and bone shape.

Cemented Vs uncemented hip replacements

I find that patients often initially view cemented hip replacements as the most undesirable option for them. The truth is that cemented hip replacements offer certain advantages over uncemented replacements in certain patients and both types of replacement have excellent results.

Hip replacement for young patients

I tend to perform uncemented hip replacements on younger patients as this type of treatment can withstand higher impact activities. I generally perform more uncemented than cemented due to my patients in particular have a higher demand of returning to a variety of sports.

Hip replacement for older patients

I typically use cemented hip replacements for patients whose bone shape means they are less suited to an uncemented replacement as well as older patients whose bone may not be as tough as it once was. However, that’s not to say the patient can’t be active after a cemented hip replacement. They are still able to play tennis, golf, ski and do most activities they wish. It is only things such as high impact sports, lots of running and sports that distort the natural joint movement like ballet dancing or gymnastics that a hip replacement patient should avoid.

Custom hip replacements

Custom hip replacements can range from the instruments being specially tailored for each patient, to the entire hip implant being 3D printed for the individual. It is rare that a patient will need the whole implant completely customised and is only done in cases where the anatomy is very irregular. I now routinely perform 3D CT scans on patients pre-operatively, which allows us to plan the surgery and make sure what we think from the 2D x-ray is correct. This also helps us execute the surgery with far greater accuracy and therefore achieve better results.

Hip replacement recovery

My patients are able to get up and walk within a few hours of the operation. Recovery from hip replacement surgery generally consists of a two to three-night stay in hospital. The patient works closely with physiotherapists for hip replacement physiotherapy to get mobile and ready for discharge. Generally, patients will leave on crutches. It is recommended that post-operation the patient carries out physio three times a day which will be tailored for their needs by a specialist. Usually by about four weeks they can start to walk without crutches if the consultant advises they are ready. After three months the patient should see a drastic improvement and feel up to 95 per cent recovered.

Many patients are incorrectly told that after their they will need to make a number of small life changes such as having a raised toilet seat, to not sleep on their side, and not to cross their legs. I do not practise these methods as from my experience I have found the best road to recovery is resuming a relatively normal life.

It is best to visit a specialist in order to receive the most up-to-date and tailored treatment options that are most suited to you individually.


To book an appointment with Mr Giles Stafford at  The Wellington Hospital call 020 3993 4837