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Orthopedic Services

Frequently Asked Questions about Total Hip Replacement

Total Hip Replacement FAQs

Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the hip are replaced with man-made components. Over time, cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple pleasures like walking and shopping unbearable. Hip replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to life.

Hip replacement surgery may be considered for individuals suffering from arthritic hip pain that severely limits daily activities. It is only recommended after careful examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and only after more conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy and medications have proven ineffective.

There are many kinds and designs of hip implants available today, and no one design or type is best for every patient. Surgeons select the implant they believe is best for their patient’s needs based on a number of factors including age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have questions regarding implants, your surgeon will be happy to answer them for you.

Even though hip replacement surgery is considered a successful procedure, it is major surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks. Possible complications include:

  • Blood clots in your leg veins
  • Infection
  • Implant loosening
  • Fractures
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Hip dislocation
  • Change of leg length

Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimize the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind that complications are rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions.

Total hip replacement is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the United States, over 285,000 people have their hips replaced each year.1  

1.     Total Hip Replacement, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Retrieved on June 8, 2013, from http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00377.

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