Hip Replacement Surgery

Nowadays hip replacement surgery has become a commonplace procedure.Total hip replacement (THR) is a surgical procedure that relieves pain from most kinds of hip arthritis, improving the quality of life for the large majority of patients who undergo the operation.

Total Hip Joint Replacement Complications

Before having a total hip joint replacement there are certain things you should understand regarding the surgery.


Firstly, the main indication for doing a total hip joint replacement is the severity of the pain. Therefore to a large extent the decision to proceed with surgery rests with you, the patient. Although alternative procedures are available for management of hip pain from arthritis, including stiffening of the hip and a realignment of the thighbone, these days the most common procedure is a hip replacement.


Total Hip Joint Replacement Operation takes two hours and you are in hospital between 5 and 7 days. Crutches are usually required for the first 6 weeks. These are provided by the hospital.


No operation can be guaranteed 100% successful but in the main total hip joint replacements are very successful and over 95% of patients are very pleased with the result.

With ANY operation there are risks to nerves, blood vessels, bone, tendons, ligaments, muscle, skin and structures which are not intentionally injured but occasionally are so. The more common complications may arise and these include:

Dislocation of the Hip

Dislocation of the hip, which most commonly occurs in the first few weeks following surgery. Dislocation occurs if the leg is put in an extreme position. Your physiotherapist will advise which positions to avoid. This can usually be reduced without difficulty and usually only a few will go on to give further problems. Dislocation is rate and may require further surgery in less than 1%.


Wear of the Components

Wear of the components is slow but does occur though it is not a problem for many years following surgery. The most major long term problem is one of loosening of the fixation of the components. With this there can be slow loss of bone around the hip. This is dependent on weight and activity as well as age. On average less than 5% of implants will require revision within 10 years. The majority will last more than 15 - 20 years.


An alteration of leg length may occur. It is important at the time of surgery that the hip is stable to prevent dislocation , and sometimes this may result in some lengthening of the leg. This is rare and if it occurs it is usually less than 1-2 cm. This would be particularly obvious if there is arthritis in the opposite hip causing shortening on that side. If your leg is already long, it is rare that I can shorten it as this makes the hip more likely to dislocate.


Infection can be a rate problem and there is an incidence of between 1 and 2 %. This can be a major problem which is difficult to treat and sometimes results on removal of implant. Antibiotics are given during and after the operation. Infection can be reduced to less than 1% by the use of sealed space suits and operating in a special laminar flow theatre.

It is important not to have any infections at the time of surgery, including teeth problems, bladder or skin infections. We suggest that you have a dental check up within 6 months prior to surgery as it is important not to have any major dental work for 6 months after the surgery. Please let me know if you have any infections prior to surgery.

Modern day anaesthetics are very efficient and safe but when dealing with older patients there is always the possibility, although small, of heart or chest complications. Blood clots can occur as a complication of any operation and these may be fatal in less than one patient per thousand. This is reduced further by taking 100mg of Aspirin (Cartia) daily for 6 weeks after surgery.

This information is given to you so that you are fully aware of the small risks associated with knee surgery. Overall the procedure is very successful and the incidence of complications is very small.
Further Information Total Hip Replacement Surgery :
If you have any queries on Total Hip Joint Replacement surgery please do not hesitate to contact Dr Hugh Blackley's practice rooms during office hours on 09 522 2980