A total hip replacement is surgery to replace a diseased or injured hip joint. An artificial ball-and-socket joint is inserted to make a new hip.
Left Total Hip Replacement
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Hip bones support a lot of weight and are surrounded by powerful muscles. Disease or injury to these bones can be very painful and impair movement. A hip replacement can return someone to normal movement. It may be done because of a broken hip, bone tumors, or loss of blood flow to the hip. It may also be done for severe arthritis that is no longer responding to other treatment.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The team may also ask about support at home.
The doctor may give:
A hip replacement may be an open surgery or minimally invasive.
An incision will be made along the joint. The muscles will be moved aside. The damaged bone and cartilage of the hip joint will be removed. The remaining bone will be prepared for the artificial joint. The artificial joint will be put in place. Bone cement may be used to hold one or both parts of the artificial hip to the bone. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
A few small incisions will be made. Tools will be passed through these incisions. Images may be taken to help guide surgery. The muscles will be moved aside. The damaged bone and cartilage of the hip joint will be removed. The remaining bone will be prepared for the artificial joint. The artificial joint will be put in place. Bone cement may be used to hold one or both parts of the artificial hip to the bone. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
Pain and swelling are common in the first few weeks. Medicine and home care can manage pain.
The usual length of stay is 1 to 3 days. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.
After the procedure, the staff may:
Support will be needed for physical activity. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work for a few weeks. It will take about 6 weeks before you can begin light activities.
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
The Arthritis Society
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Elective total hip arthroplasty. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/elective-total-hip-arthroplasty#MANAGEMENT. Updated May 5, 2020. Accessed July 15, 2020.
Minimally invasive total hip replacement surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 2014. Accessed July 15, 2020.
Ninomiya JT, Dean JC, et al. What's New in Hip Replacement. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2015 Sep 16;97(18):1543-1551.
6/14/2017 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T566765/Elective-total-hip-arthroplasty: Wilson SH, Wolf BJ, et al. Comparison of lumbar epidurals and lumbar plexus nerve blocks for analgesia following primary total hip arthroplasty: a retrospective analysis. J Arthroplasty. 2017;32(2):635-640.
Last reviewed March 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 4/9/21