Total Hip Replacement

Hip replacement is a highly successful treatment for painful hip arthritis that is no longer manageable with non-operative measures. The damaged cartilage is removed and replaced with a metalic implant in order to improve pain and long-term function. 

Due to improvements in design and materials, modern implants are lasting much longer than previously and for most patients it is a lifelong solution. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I be in hospital?

You will be allowed home once you can safely manage in your home environment to continue your rehabilitation under the supervision of your therapist. This will depend on your preoperative fitness, home environment, supports and medical comorbidities. 

  • Keep physically active with low impact exercises that does not exacerbate your pain
  • Make any modifications to your home you need to manage after surgery and arrange a friend of family member to help in your early recovery once you return home.
  • Smoking increases the risk of surgical and anaesthetic complications and impairs healing. The longer you can stop smoking prior to surgery the lower the risks.  
  • If you have diabetes ensure you optimise your control with your GP to minimise your risk of infection and wound healing problems.
  • If you have dental problems please have these addressed prior to your surgery as dental disease can cause infection of your joint replacement. 
  • Ensure you do not have any abrasions or infections, especially on your operative leg. If you have a skin problem prior to surgery contact your surgeon.

In the majority of cases a spinal anasthetic with sedation is used to improve your postoperative pain and minimise the risk of complications. However there are multiple options which will be discussed with you by your anaesthetist and surgeon.

According to the Australian National Joint Registry 6% of patients undergo a redo surgery on their hip replacement by 10 years post surgery and 12% at 20 years. The leading causes of failure are fracture and infection and due to advances in bio-materials it is now uncommon for hip replacements to wear out. The improvement in survivorship has enabled younger and more active patients to benefit from hip replacement surgery.

You will be allowed to drive once you are off strong pain medications which affect your alertness and can perform an emergency stop. This is usually 2-4 weeks post surgery on the right hip but should be discussed with your surgeon at your postoperative checkups.
Most patients return to a desk based role or modified duties by 4 weeks and more active roles by 6 weeks.

As with any invasive surgery there are risks, however these vary based on your physical fitness and medical conditions so will be explained by your surgeon during your consultation.

After 3 months you should be back to most of your usual activities. You may find that you can return to activities you have not been able to do for some time because of your hip pain. Safe activities include tennis, skiing, golf, bowls, cycling, swimming, backyard running with kids. As a general rule high contact sports such as competition soccer, basketball or rugby are not recommended. 

This page is a brief overview and not designed to be all-inclusive. If you have any further queries, please contact us.

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Are you ready to take charge of your orthopaedic health? Riverina Orthopaedics, the largest orthopaedic practice in the Riverina, is dedicated to keeping you active and providing comprehensive care right here in your community.