Total Hip Replacement

About the Operation

Xray of both hips. The right hip has a Total Hip Replacement and the left hip is normal.
Xray of both hips.
The right hip has a Total Hip Replacement and the left hip is normal.


Most people are admitted to hospital on the day of their surgery.


The anaesthetic team will see you and decide the type of anaesthetic that's best for you.

The different types of anaesthesia include:

  • General Anaesthetic. This type of anaesthetic puts you asleep during the whole procedure and a machine controls your breathing.
  • Spinal Anaesthetic. An injection is placed into your back to numb your hip and legs. You will be awake during the procedure, however a sedative can be given to you to help you doze off.
  • Nerve Blocks. This special injection is used to help with your pain after the operation and often used  in conjunction with a general anaesthetic.

The Operation

A hip joint replacement usually takes around two hours.

First, you will be given an anesthetic which puts you to sleep and relaxes your muscles to allow the operation to be performed safely and without any pain.

Your surgeon will make a cut (20 to 30 cm long) over your hip joint and then expose the ball and socket (hip joint). Some muscles may need to be moved out of the way or unattatched from the bone.

The damaged ball at the top of the thigh bone will be removed and replaced with an articifial ball which is inserted onto the end of the bone with a stem that is placed in the hollow centre of the bone.

The socket is then hollowed out and an artifical cup is put in place. The joint is then put back in place and the surrounding muscles reattatched.

Finally the skin is sown back together using stitches or staples.

What is the Hip Replacement made of?

Hip replacements are made of surgical grade metal (often chromium cobalt, stainless steel or titanium), highly wear resistant plastic or ceramic.

A hip joint is basically a ball and socket joint, and a hip replacement is designed to replace this normal anatomy.

total hip replacement

A hip replacement is composed of a:

  • Socket: It can be made of highly wear resistant plastic, metal or ceramic.
  • Liner: The liner fits snugly into the socket to provide an ultra-smooth surface for the hip joint.
  • Ball: The artificial ball component is smaller than your normal hip ball. It is incredibly polished and perfectly round and smooth. It is usually made of metal or ceramic.
  • Stem: The stem fits snugly into your thigh bone (femur) to provide a stable structure for the ball. It is made of metal.

There are many types of hip replacements available, and your surgeon will decide which one is best for you.

Recovery Room

After the operation, you will be resting in the recovery room, where specially trained nurses will closely monitor you. This usually takes 1 to 2 hours. After which, you will be taken to your hospital room.


18 April, 2014