Hip replacement

Hip replacement, or total hip arthroplasty, is surgery to replace a worn out or damaged hip joint.

In this procedure your orthopedic surgeon accesses the hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint, or prosthesis. We recommend this surgery after a hip fracture or for severe hip pain due to types of arthritis like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or traumatic arthritis.

When hip pain limits your day-to-day activities

You need a hip replacement if your hip pain is limiting everyday activities, your hip pain continues while resting during the day or night, stiffness prevents you from moving or lifting that leg, and non-surgical treatments aren’t working.

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause for hip replacement surgery. We also see many cases of avascular necrosis, the loss of blood supply to the head of the femur, causing the need for replacement.

Find out if a hip replacement is right for you

Whether you’ve been referred by a provider or you’re wondering if hip replacement is right for you, make an appointment with a UCHealth orthopedic specialist so we can work together on the best treatment plan for your case.

If surgery is the best option, rest assured: you’ll be treated by one of the leading orthopedic teams in the country.

Hip replacement surgery replaces damaged cartilage and bone in the hip joint with durable synthetic parts. There are two basic types of surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend the best procedure for your situation:

Traditional hip replacement. This is open surgery, involving an incision several inches long over the hip joint.

Minimally invasive hip replacement. This approach uses one or two smaller incisions to do the surgery, but this procedure is not right for all cases.

You will most likely be admitted to the hospital on the day of your surgery. The anesthesia team will work with you to determine which type of anesthesia will be best for you.

Hip prostheses

You will already know which type of prosthesis you’ll be receiving and what it’s made of, as there are many different types of designs and materials we can use.

All artificial hip joints have two basic components:

  • The ball component in the pelvic bone, which is made of highly-polished strong metal or ceramic material.
  • The socket component at the end of the femur, which is a durable cup of plastic, ceramic or metal, which may have an outer metal shell.

The surgical procedure takes a few hours, and will restore the alignment and function of your hip. After surgery, you will be monitored in a recovery room until you wake up, then we will take you to your hospital room where you will need to stay for at least one night, and possibly up to three days, until you’re healthy enough to return home.

Woman on gym machineAfter your procedure, you’ll be at increased risk of blood clots in your legs, so you’ll need to take blood-thinning medications as prescribed in your treatment plan. Your plan will also include exercise, which is critical to your healing during the first few weeks after surgery.

You can expect to resume most daily light activities within three to six weeks following surgery, although some discomfort with activity and at night is common for several weeks. Your hip pain should be significantly improved.

You can protect your hip replacement and extend its life with a few simple steps that will be in your treatment plan:

  • Come to all routine follow-up examinations and X-rays, even if your hip replacement seems to be doing fine.
  • Regular physical therapy and light exercise helps to maintain proper strength and mobility of your new hip.
  • Take special precautions to avoid falls and injuries. Your new hip can dislocate until it becomes strong.

Tell your dentist that you have a hip replacement, and talk with your orthopaedic surgeon about whether you need to take antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Depending on the materials in your new hip, it may activate metal detectors in airports and some buildings. Your orthopaedic surgeon can give you an official card confirming that you have an artificial hip.