Geriatric Trauma
  Colorectal Diseases
  Breast Diseases
  Patient Information

Total Hip Replacement

• Introduction
• Arthritis
• Indications
• Benefits
• Pre-op
• Day of your surgery
• Surgical procedure
• Post-operative
• Special Precautions
• Risks and complications
• Summary



Hip replacement has become necessary for your arthritic hip: this is one of the most effective operations known and should give you many years of freedom from pain.


Arthritis is a general term covering numerous conditions where the joint surface(cartilage) wear out. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain free movement in the joint. This surface can wear out for a number of reasons, often the definite cause is not known. When the articular cartilage wears out, the bone ends rub on one another and cause pain. There are numerous conditions that can cause arthritis and often the exact cause is never known. In general, but not always it affects people as they get older (Osteoarthritis) .

Other causes include

• Trauma (fracture)
• Increased stress e.g., overuse, overweight, etc.
• Avascular necrosis (loss of blood supply)
• Infection
• Inactive lifestyle- e.g., Obesity, as additional weight puts extra force through your joints which can lead to arthritis over a period of time.
• Inflammation e.g., Rheumatoid arthritis

In an arthritic hip

• The cartilage lining is thinner than normal or completely absent.
• The degree of cartilage damage and inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis.
• The capsule of the arthritic hip is swollen.
• The joint space is narrowed and irregular in outline; this can be seen in an X-ray image.
• Bone spurs or excessive bone can also build up around the edges of the joint.
• The combinations of these factors make the arthritic hip stiff and limit activities due to pain or fatigue.


The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made on history, physical examination & X-rays. There is no blood test to diagnose Osteoarthritis (wear & tear arthritis)



THR is indicated for arthritis of the hip that has failed to respond to conservative (non-operative) treatment.

You should consider a THR when you have

• Arthritis confirmed on X-ray
• Pain not responding to analgesics or anti-inflammatories.
• Limitations of activities of daily living including your leisure activities, sport or work.
• Pain keeping you awake at night.
• Stiffness in the hip making mobility difficult.


Prior to surgery you will usually have tried some simple treatments such as simple analgesics, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medications, modification of your activities, walking sticks, physiotherapy.

The decision to proceed with THR surgery is a co-operative one between you, your surgeon, family and your local doctor. Benefits of surgery include

• Reduced hip pain
• Increased mobility and movement
• Correction of deformity
• Equalization of leg length (not guaranteed)
• Increased leg strength
• Improved quality of life, ability to return to normal activities.
• Enables you to sleep without pain.

Surgical procedure

An incision is made over the hip to expose the hip joint

The acetabulum (socket) is prepared using a special instrument called a reamer. The acetabular component is then inserted into the socket. This is sometimes reinforced with screws or occasionally cemented. A liner which can be made of plastic, metal or ceramic material is then placed inside the acetabular component

The femur (thigh bone) is then prepared. The femoral head which is arthritic is cut off and the bone prepared using special instruments, to exactly fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral component is then inserted into the femur. This may be press fit relying on bone to grow into it or cemented depending on a number of factors such as bone quality and surgeon's preference.

The real femoral head component is then placed on the femoral stem. This can be made of metal or ceramic.

The hip is then reduced again, for the last time

The muscles and soft tissues are then closed carefully.

Post operative

You will be able to put all your weight on your hip and your Physiotherapist will help you with the post-op hip exercises.

You will be discharged to go home or a rehabilitation hospital approximately 5-7 days depending on your pain and help at home.

Sutures are usually dissolvable but if not are removed at about 10 days.

A post-operative visit will be arranged prior o your discharge.

You will be advised about how to walk with crutches for two weeks following surgery and then using walking aids for another four to six weeks.

Post-op precautions:

Remember this is an artificial hip and must be treated with care.


• You should sleep with a pillow between your legs for 6 weeks. Avoid crossing your legs and bending your hip past a right angle
• Avoid low chairs
• Avoid bending over to pick things up. Grabbers are helpful as are shoe horns or slip on shoes.
• Elevated toilet seat helpful.
• You can shower once the wound has healed.
• You can apply Vitamin E or moisturizing cream into the wound once the wound has healed.
• If you have increasing redness or swelling in the wound or temperatures over 38° you should call your doctor.
• If you are having any procedures such as dental work or any other surgery you should take antibiotics before and after to prevent infection in your new prosthesis. Consult your surgeon for details.
• Your hip replacement may go off in a metal detector at the airport.

Risks and complications

As with any major surgery, there are potential risks involved. The decision to proceed with the surgery is made because the advantages of surgery outweigh the potential disadvantages.

It is important that you are informed of these risks before the surgery takes place.

Complications can be medical (general) or specific to the hip

Medical Complications include those of the anaesthetic and your general well being. Almost any medical condition can occur so this list is not complete.

Complications include

• Allergic reactions to medications
• Blood loss requiring transfusion with its low risk of disease transmission
• Heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, pneumonia, bladder infections.
• Complications from nerve blocks such as infection or nerve damage.
• Serious medical problems can lead to ongoing health concerns, prolonged hospitalisation or rarely death.


Specific complications include


Infection can occur with any operation. In the hip this can be superficial or deep. Infection rates are approximately 1%, if it occurs it can be treated with antibiotics but may require further surgery. Very rarely your hip may need to be removed to eradicate infection.


This means the hip comes out of its socket. Precautions need to be taken with your new hip forever. It a dislocation occurs it needs to be put back into place with an anaesthetic. Rarely this becomes a recurrent problem needing further surgery.

Blood clots (Deep Venous Thrombosis)

These can form in the calf muscles and can travel to the lung (Pulmonary embolism). These can occasionally be serious and even life threatening. If you get calf pain or shortness of breath at any stage, you should notify your surgeon.

Damage to nerves or blood vessels

Also rare but can lead to weakness and loss of sensation in part of the leg. Damage to blood vessels may require further surgery if bleeding is ongoing.

Wound irritation

Your scar can be sensitive or have a surrounding area of numbness. This normally decreases over time and does not lead to any problems with your new joint.

Leg length inequality

It is very difficult to make the leg exactly the same length as the other one. Occasionally the leg is deliberately lengthened to make the hip stable during surgery. There are some occasions when it is simply not possible to match the leg lengths. All leg length inequalities can be treated by a simple shoe raise on the shorter side.


All joints eventually wear out. The more active you are, the quicker this will occur. In general 80-90% of hip survive 15-20 years.

Failure to relieve pain

Very rare but may occur especially if some pain is coming from other areas such as the spine.

Unsightly or thickened scar Pressure or bed sores

Limp due to muscle weakness

Fractures (break) of the femur (thigh bone) or pelvis (hipbone)

This is also rare but can occur during or after surgery. This may prolong your recovery, or require further surgery. Discuss your concerns thoroughly with your orthopaedic surgeon prior to surgery.


91-98333 09818
Bhatia  •  Saifee
Featured Services
• Minimally Invasive Plate Osteosynthesis • Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement
• Key Hole Surgery for Shoulder Dislocation • Geriatric Trauma
© Ortho Excel. All rights reserved.