What is a hip replacement?

A hip replacement is an artificial joint, which can be made from a combination of materials. This includes types of metal, plastic, ceramic and cement. It consists of a socket, which can either be cemented into the bone or held in place by bone in-growth (biological fixation). A stem is inserted into the hip bone and held in place with cement. A head made of either metal or ceramic is attached to the top of this stem to allow it to sit in the socket.

What conditions can it treat?

A hip replacement is predominantly used to treat moderate to severe arthritis. This can be from ‘wear and tear’ arthritis (osteoarthritis) or other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used to treat hip fractures and other conditions such as avascular necrosis.

What types of hip replacement are there?

There are many types of hip replacements. Mr. Boyce Cam uses one of the most common types used in the U.K. known as the Exeter hip replacement system. This is known to have a long survivorship with a very low rate of needing to be revised.

What are the possible risks or complications?

Hip replacement surgery is a major procedure so it is important to discuss the risk as well as benefits when you come to your appointment.

What happens before the operation?

Before you are scheduled for surgery you will be seen in the pre-operative assessment clinic. Here, you will be seen by a nurse, who will ensure you are medically fit for the operation and arrange any necessary blood tests / investigations.

How is the surgery performed?

The surgery is usually done under a spinal anaesthetic. This is an injection into your back, which temporarily causes your legs to go numb, so you do not feel any pain during the operation. Sometimes the anaesthetist will give you medication to make you sleep instead. The surgery is carried out with you positioned on your side. The worn bearing surfaces are removed through a scar on the outside of your upper thigh. The new hip replacement is inserted and the wound is closed with stitches.

What happens after the operation?

Immediately after your surgery the aim is to control any pain and restore the movement back to the hip. The physiotherapy team and nursing staff will look after you on the ward to help get you back up and mobile.

How long does it take to recover?

The initial recovery in hospital takes a few days. This is to help you recover from the operation, help control any pain and start exercising your hip. When at home you will be given an exercise programme to follow. The sutures will be removed at 2 weeks and the wound checked for full healing. It takes several weeks to months to restore function to the hip and to realise the benefits of the surgery.

Hip Replacement Surgery