Hip Replacements information
You have decided or are considering undergoing total hip replacement surgery. I have discussed with you in clinic that hip replacements are successful for relieving severe pain and disability associated with arthritis. I have discussed the risks and benefits of this kind of surgery. This leaflet is aimed to remind you of the important points discussed. Any further questions from yourself are welcome and should be raised prior to surgery.
Do I have to have a hip replacement?
No. Other treatments include losing weight, pain killers, lifestyle modification, walking aids, physiotherapy and injections into the hip. These treatments are not always suitable for everyone and will have been considered as a first option already by myself.
Why does my hip hurt?
Your hip joint is made up by a socket in your pelvis (acetabulum) and the ball at the top of the thigh bone (femoral head). The head normally glides smoothly within the socket because it is covered by smooth cartilage. If your cartilage lining the joint is worn out causing arthritis, bare bone rubs against bare bone making your joint painful and stiff.
What is a hip replacement?
A hip replacement replaces both the ball and socket of your hip joint. The materials used are a combination of metal, ceramic and plastic. This allows the hip to last 10-20 years. The components are held in place by either scratch fit allowing the bone to integrate with the implant (uncemented) or with special medical cement.
Technology in hip replacements has advanced tremendously. However we cannot yet replicate the natural engineering of the hip you were born with. Some patients notice that this makes their hip feel different to a natural hip, but this is not painful and patients become used to this different sensation. Others completely forget that they have an artificial hip.
The socket is replaced with either a plastic or ceramic joint surface fixed into an uncemented metal shell or cemented into place. The femoral component sits inside the femoral shaft capped with a metal or ceramic head.
Whilst the majority of patients receive a hip replacement for arthritis, a minority receive a hip replacement due to a fracture of their hip joint. They have not had time for their hip to stiffen as with the arthritic hip and extra precautions need to be taken to prevent hip dislocation. Your physiotherapist will explain this in greater detail.
How do I get ready for surgery?
Following your consultation, you will be contacted by the pre-admission team. They will arrange for blood tests and other investigations to ensure that you are fit for surgery.
You will be given a date for your operation. If you cannot attend on that date please let me know immediately by calling my private secretary (Nuffield – Alex Appleyard 0113 3882138 / Yorkshire Clinic – Barbara Bell 01274 550859) so that an alternative date can be arranged. Before surgery, you will be provided with a special shower liquid soap to wash your hair and body and nasal spray to reduce the number of bacteria on your skin, thereby reducing your chance of infection. If you normally are prescribed Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, Clopidogrel or other blood thinners, you will be asked to stop this 5 days before surgery to reduce your risk of bleeding. You may continue your aspirin. If you take any medication for Rheumatoid disease, please discuss this with me prior to surgery. This may need to be stopped both pre and post op.
If you feel unwell in the days leading up to surgery or have any cuts, spots or infections on the same limb as that being operated on, please get in touch with my private secretary (Nuffield – Alex Appleyard 0113 3882138 / Yorkshire Clinic – Barbara Bell 01274 550859) as soon as possible. We may need to delay your surgery. This is in your best interests.
What happens on the day of theatre?
You will be asked to come to the ward at a specific time. You need to have been starved (food and drink) for at least 6 hours. Please take your normal medication (except Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, Clopidogrel or other blood thinners) on the day of surgery with a small sip of water.
You will be seen by me before your operation for consenting and marking. The anaesthetist will also discuss your anaesthetic. They will perform either a spinal or general anaesthetic. Spinal anaesthetic is the most common, involves an injection into your back which numbs your legs and allows us to perform surgery which lasts between 1-2 hours. You will be awake for the procedure, but may ask for sedation if desired.
In theatre a sheet screen is placed so that you cannot see the operation. It is advisable to bring a personal music player to enjoy some music whilst the operation is performed.
Following surgery, you will go to a recovery area, and then return to the ward. You may not feel your legs initially due to a spinal anaesthetic. Although the operation itself only takes up to 2 hours to perform, please let your relatives at home know you may be away from the ward for the whole morning or afternoon. An xray and blood tests will be performed within 2 days of surgery.
Following your operation
You will receive intensive physiotherapy whilst in hospital which needs to be continued by yourself at home. Your physiotherapist will explain in detail the hip precautions to follow and the occupational therapist will help you in terms of training and equipment to help you cope at home with your new joint particularly in the first few months. Once your doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are happy you may return home. A normal hospital stay will be between 2-3 days. You will not return home until we are confident you are safe to cope independently or with support. Please make arrangements for your discharge before you come into hospital. If possible, it is best to have someone stay with you or for you to stay with family or friends for a couple of weeks on discharge.
Whilst in hospital, it is normal that you will receive blood thinning injections until discharge. You will then take a 5 week course of blood thinning tablets at home. These are aimed to reduce your risks of developing a blood clot in your leg or lung.
Occasionally, patients are concerned about their progress at home. You will receive a follow up appointment at 6 weeks, but if you are concerned you have a more immediate problem such as a leaky red wound, we would rather you phone the ward (Nuffield – Ingleborough Ward 0113 3882309 / Yorkshire Clinic – 01274 550817) to arrange to speak to somebody qualified to give advice.
You will be off work for approximately 6-12 weeks by which time most patients are walking with one stick. You may start to drive around 6 weeks when you can safely and confidently perform an emergency breaking manoeuvre. It is your responsibility to know whether you are or are not safe to drive. Let your insurance company know you are planning on starting to drive again. You need to follow the physiotherapist’s hip precautions to avoid dislocation lifelong and need to use aids such as the toilet seat raise for 3 months. Full recovery normally takes 12 months. Short haul flights are possible after 6 weeks and long haul after 3 months.
What can I expect to achieve with surgery?
Most patients are delighted with the results of surgery. Most patients forget that they have a false hip, but it is normal to feel a different sensation compared to a normal hip.
90% of patients have a dramatic reduction in pain following recovery. You are encouraged to resume an active lifestyle but are strongly advised against activities that produce high impact such as running and jumping. You will need to follow the hip precautions you have been taught including during times of prayer. Sports such as golf, cycling, swimming and walking are encouraged. Other acceptable activities include bowling, doubles tennis, table tennis and dancing.
Hip replacement surgery is major surgery, sometimes associated with complications. We cannot guarantee to meet all your expectations of surgery. There must be a realistic expectation by yourself of what the operation can achieve.
Are there complications of surgery?
Are there complications of surgery?
There are risks following hip replacement surgery despite high standards of practice. Complications can occur that may have permanent effects which is why the operation is only undertaken when all other methods of treatment have failed. Surgeons do not usually outline every single complication but they do point out to you the most serious ones. Serious complications occur in no more than one or two in every 100 patients, but less serious complications can occur more frequently and generally get better.
A hip replacement is not being performed for life or limb threatening disease. Pre-existing medical conditions including obesity increase the risk of complications associated with surgery. This surgery carries a risk of death of 1 in 200 people (0.5%) by 90 days post operation.
*Please inform the hospital, the anaesthetist and myself if you have any religious or non religious objection to receiving a blood transfusion. 10% of patients require a transfusion post operatively and this is only given if strictly necessary. Refusing blood transfusions may alter our decision regarding your suitability for certain procedures based entirely on the grounds of your safety.
Specific Risks of Hip Replacement
Dislocations tend to occur either early in the life of the hip or very late. Scar tissue that forms in the first 3 months following a hip replacement is useful in maintaining the stability of the joint. Dislocations may relate to factors arising from surgery, patient compliance with hip precautions or falls. Recurrent dislocations may require revision surgery.
Leg Length discrepancy
Occasionally the infection may be resistant to treatment and an operation may be needed to remove the components of the hip replacement. Once all the infection has been effectively treated a second operation is performed to insert new components.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
The prosthesis may loosen if osteoporosis (loss of bone density) occurs. Rarely, the artificial joint may break and another operation would be needed.
Nerve and Artery Injury
Who will keep a record of my hip replacement?
Your hospital records will include details of your operation. We submit an individual patient’s joint replacement details to the National Joint Register who use this data in an anonymised form. Please let us know if you do not wish for your data to be used in this way.
How will I be followed up?
Following discharge from
- At 10-14 days by a nurse for a wound review or removal of sutures/clips. You may be asked to make an appointment with your nurse at the local GP surgery.
- At 6 weeks by myself. An
xrayis not usually required.
- At 1 year with a check
xrayand review by myself.
- Follow up beyond a year is recommended by both the British Orthopaedic Association and myself.
How long will a hip replacement last for?
A first time hip replacement is called a primary hip replacement. Without complication of surgery, we would expect this to last between 10 and 20 years. After this time, we would expect a further and bigger revision operation to be performed.
The Good news!
Hip replacement surgery is very successful at dramatically improving pain. Functionally, we would expect you to improve also. Whilst we have to inform you of the major risks of surgery, hip replacements are far safer now than 10 to 20 years ago. They have also lasted much longer than initially expected. Over 86,000 hip replacements are performed in the UK each year.
You have been given this booklet now to give you the opportunity to discuss any aspect of your care with myself, the pre-admission staff, or the anaesthetist before you undergo the procedure.
What can I say! I am out of pain since my operation day. Thank you is such a small word to say but no other word can I display. My life has changed and I owe it all to you, so a very big THANK YOU for what you do.
From entering the hospital until I left everything, the nurses, anaesthetist and the surgeon were just perfect and afterwards the physiotherapists.
I was so happy to be treated by these people. They were so friendly and professional at the same time.
I have had more discomfort from having a tooth filling.
H M (Total Hip Replacement)