Hip replacement surgery
At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we have a team of leading hip surgeons. If your hip joint has been damaged by arthritis, a fracture or other medical conditions, our experts can perform hip replacement surgery. This can significantly reduce your pain and improve your movement.
What is hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement surgery is a common operation to replace a damaged hip joint with an artificial joint called an implant. You can be considered for hip replacement surgery at any age. It is most often performed on people between the ages of 60 and 80.
Your hip is where the thigh bone (the femur) joins the pelvis. This is a ball and socket joint. The top of the thigh bone (the femoral head) has a round shape like a ball. This ball rotates in a hollow socket of the pelvis called the acetabulum. The ball and socket are surrounded by a layer called cartilage, which cushions the bones and allows smooth movement.
During a hip replacement operation, your surgeon replaces the damaged ball and socket with new parts. They are made from strong metal, plastic or ceramic and designed to last for at least 15 years.
Why might I need hip replacement surgery?
Your orthopaedic consultant may recommend hip replacement surgery if your hip joint is worn or damaged and this affects your quality of life. You may have severe pain, swelling and stiffness in your hip joint. These symptoms may make it hard to walk, sleep, work or carry out everyday tasks, such as getting dressed or doing your shopping. The chronic (long-term) pain may make you feel depressed or prevent you from enjoying social activities.
The most common causes of damage to the hip joint are:
- Osteoarthritis: This is where the protective cartilage in the hip joint slowly wears away over time. The bones in the hip then start rubbing and you may get painful growths called bone spurs. Osteoarthritis is most common in older people and anyone who is overweight, has a family history of the condition or previously suffered a hip injury.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the hip joint lining by mistake. The joint becomes swollen and the cartilage and nearby bone can get damaged over time. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects both hips.
- Hip fracture: This is a break or crack in the top of the thigh bone. You may get a fracture if you fall, injure the side of your hip or have a condition that weakens the hip bone.
- Septic arthritis: This is a painful type of joint infection that can develop in the hip. If not treated quickly, it can seriously damage the bone and cartilage in the hip joint.
- Osteonecrosis: This is a painful condition, where the blood flow to the ball of the hip joint is interrupted. Eventually, the bone can break down and the hip joint may collapse.
Are there any alternatives to hip replacement surgery?
If your hip joint is damaged, your orthopaedic consultant usually suggests non-surgical treatments first. These may include:
- painkillers or anti-inflammatory medicines
- physiotherapy and exercise
- weight loss
- walking aids, such as a stick
- steroid injections into the hip joint to reduce pain, inflammation (swelling) and stiffness
If these treatments do not help you to manage your symptoms, your consultant may recommend surgery.
In some cases, hip resurfacing may be an alternative option to hip replacement surgery. The damaged surface of the hip ball and socket is replaced with a metal surface. This is a less invasive procedure, but not suitable for everyone. It is usually only recommended for people under the age of 60, who have an active lifestyle, larger hips (often men) and strong bones.
How do I know whether hip replacement surgery is suitable for me?
If you get hip pain, you can have a full assessment at Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre. A specialist orthopaedic consultant asks you about your symptoms and how they affect you. They also find out your medical history.
Your consultant then examines your hip and assesses its strength and range of movement. To make an accurate diagnosis, your consultant arranges digital X-rays. Sometimes you may also need an MRI or CT scan. Our Diagnostic Imaging Suite performs high quality scans in a relaxed environment.
Using the information collected, your consultant discusses the best method of treating your hip problem. They consider your general health, age and lifestyle and prepare an individual treatment plan. Your consultant explains the benefits and risks of hip replacement surgery.
What are the main benefits of having hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement surgery has a high success rate. A successful hip replacement can greatly ease your pain, make it easier to move and allow you to become more active again. It is a reliable, long-lasting treatment for severe arthritis and other hip conditions.
How can I prepare for having hip replacement surgery?
If you decide to have hip replacement surgery, your consultant will give you detailed information about how to prepare. It is important to keep as active as you can before your operation. This may be challenging when you are in pain, but our physiotherapy team can teach you gentle exercises to strengthen your hip muscles.
In the weeks before your operation, we also recommend that you:
- have a balanced diet
- keep to a healthy weight
- try to stop smoking
- maintain good dental hygiene
- arrange for someone to give you extra support at home after your operation
- remove anything that you could trip over at home when using walking aids after surgery
These steps can help with your recovery and reduce complications.
We ask you to attend a pre-operative assessment clinic. A nurse assesses your health and decides whether you are fit to have an anaesthetic and the planned operation. You may need blood and urine tests, chest X-rays and an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check that your heart is healthy.
We also invite you to a ‘joint school’. This is a group session held by video link twice a week. It covers how to prepare for the operation, what to expect and the recovery process.
What happens during hip replacement surgery?
At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we have four modern operating theatres. There is little or no waiting time for hip surgery.
A hip replacement can be done under a general anaesthetic. This means that you are asleep during the operation and do not feel any pain. Otherwise, you may have a spinal anaesthetic or epidural. You are then awake, but your body is made numb from the waist downwards.
Your operation takes one to two hours. The most common type of surgery is a total hip replacement, where both the damaged hip ball and socket are replaced. Your surgeon makes a cut over the front or side of your hip. They remove the top of the thigh bone (the hip ball) and hollow out the hip socket in the pelvis.
The surgeon puts an artificial socket, which is shaped like a cup, into the hollow space of the pelvis. They then insert an artificial ball, which is attached to a metal stem that fits into your thighbone. A piece of plastic, metal or ceramic keeps the ball and socket apart to prevent them from rubbing.
Your new hip ball and socket may be made from metal, plastic or ceramic. A metal ball and plastic socket are most common. If you are younger and more active, you may have a ceramic ball and plastic or ceramic socket. The new parts are normally fixed to the bone with cement. Otherwise, they are coated with a special material that encourages the bone to grow onto it.
Are there any other types of hip replacement surgery?
Surgeons continue to develop new ways of carrying out hip replacement operations. Two other types of hip replacement surgery are:
- Minimally invasive hip replacement: This is keyhole surgery, where your surgeon makes one or two small cuts and uses special instruments to replace the hip joint. The operation is less invasive than traditional hip replacement surgery, but equally effective. It helps to prevent damage to the muscles and soft tissues around the hip. There is a faster recovery time and less pain after the operation.
- Robotic hip replacement: At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we have invested in the latest technology. The Stryker Mako robotic arm is a piece of equipment that helps our surgeons to perform hip replacements with pinpoint accuracy. This robotic arm produces an exact 3D model of your hip and guides your surgeon to place the new hip joint in the best position. The precise surgery can help you to return to an active lifestyle more quickly and achieve a good long-term outcome.
What happens after hip replacement surgery?
After having your hip replacement operation, you are taken to a recovery room. You may have a pillow between your legs to keep your hip in the right position. Your wound is covered by a large dressing, which normally stays in place for 10 to 14 days. Our nurses monitor you closely and take you back to the ward when you are ready.
Wherever possible, we encourage you to get out of bed and start moving on the day of your operation. At first, you are likely to feel some discomfort when moving. We give you painkillers and medicine to reduce the risk of blood clots after surgery.
Our physiotherapy team visit you regularly while you are in hospital. You usually have two physiotherapy sessions a day and are set a personal exercise programme. Most people can put weight on their new hip joint within hours of the operation. Initially you use a walking frame, followed by elbow crutches or a walking stick.
Your physiotherapist teaches you how to strengthen the hip muscles and avoid damaging the new hip when you bend or sit. At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we have a rehabilitation gym and large hydrotherapy pool. We recommend that you continue having physiotherapy for six to 12 weeks after you leave hospital.
Most people need to stay in hospital for two or three days after a hip replacement, but this can vary. Before you leave, an occupational therapist assesses your situation at home and may recommend special equipment to help you manage. Our pharmacy gives you a supply of any medicines that your consultant has prescribed. You get a ‘discharge pack’, which includes a follow-up appointment with your consultant and contact details for the ward. Our nurses are available 24 hours a day to deal with any concerns or questions.
It is important to follow our practical guidance on looking after your new hip. You need to take care to avoid any falls during the first few weeks after surgery. We explain when it is safe to return to work or other activities. You should be able to walk unaided after about six weeks. The soft tissues of the hip joint take around 12 weeks to heal fully. You may notice ongoing improvements for up to one year after the operation as your hip muscles grow stronger.
If you need hip replacement surgery, Parkside Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Centre provides first-class independent healthcare.
We offer all-inclusive price packages for a total hip replacement. These packages start from £13,080. Terms and conditions apply. For more information about prices, please call 020 3925 1062.
To make an appointment at Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, please call 020 3944 0568 or complete this form online. Appointments are available six days a week.
Hip replacement surgery Consultants