Hip replacements

The most successful surgical procedure of all time, performed at SWLEOC by leading UK surgeons.

A hip replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the worn out part of the hip joint.

It aims to improve patients quality of life and function who suffer with hip arthritis once simple measures such as pain killers have stopped working.

Why would I need a hip replacement?

Over time, hips can be damaged by arthritis, fractures or because of abnormally shaped hips from birth.


Hip arthritis can make everyday life extremely distressing as walking, standing up and getting out of bed become difficult and painful.

Your General Practitioner will help you address any weight issues, prescribe you medications and refer you for physiotherapy when your symptoms begin. When these measures no longer control your symptoms, hip replacement can be considered.


When day to day tasks become difficult and there is pain in the hip when lying or sitting, hip surgery should be considered.

What happens during the procedure?

1. You will be fully assessed to check you are physically well enough for surgery.

This starts with the consultation with your surgeon in clinic, you will then attend a pre-assessment clinic where you are assessed by a specialist nurse and sometimes an anaesthetist if you have other medical problems. You may require some additional blood tests and investigations before your surgery. You will have a chance to ask questions about your anaesthetic and what happens before and after surgery.

What happens during the procedure?

2. A spinal anaesthetic and occasionally a general anaesthetic are used so you do not feel the surgery.

For the majority of patients a spinal anaesthetic is used for the surgery with medicine to make you sleepy. This is the preferred method to ensure you do not feel any pain during the surgery but still breathe for yourself which helps you to recover more quickly after the surgery. You will have a chance to discuss the anaesthetic before the surgery.

What happens during the procedure?

3. The old worn out hip joint is removed and a new artificial hip is inserted (speak to your surgeon about the implants).

The surgeon and their team will meticulously prepare the hip prior to surgery and apply sterile drapes over the hip. A careful incision is made in the skin and the hip joint is exposed. The old worn out head is removed and the socket is cleared of arthritis. A new socket and stem are inserted with a new head.

What happens during the procedure?

4. The joint is checked thoroughly for movement and stability. The muscles and tendons around the hip joint are repaired.

Once the new hip joint is inserted the surgeon very carefully assesses the movement and stability of the new hip to check that it will function well for you before they fully insert the final hip. Once the final hip is inserted everything is cleaned and the muscles and tendons around the hip are repaired. Local anaesthetic is inserted in the deep tissues to give you good pain relief on the ward.

What happens during the procedure?

5. You return to the ward and are helped on to your feet by the physios often on the same day of surgery.

You will spend some time in recovery after the operation. As soon as you are well enough you will be transferred to the ward. On the ward you will be seen by physios and nurses and as soon as possible you are encouraged to walk. You will have a check xray on the day of the surgery or the day after to confirm the position of the new hip and will return home after 1-3 nights stay when it is safe for you to do so.


All surgical procedures have risks associated with them, some of the specific ones are listed below. You will have a detailed discussion with your surgeon about:

  • Bleeding and blood clots which can be life threatening but are rare and we have measures in place to keep you safe
  • Infection which in SWLEOC is lower than the national average.
  • Dislocation and leg length difference, the aim is to make your legs symmetrical but occasionally the leg can end up slightly shorter or longer than the other side
  • Need for further surgery or to have the surgery done again if the artificial hip fails or becomes infected

Recovery time

0-1 Day
Walk on day 0 with crutches but fully weight bearing. Discharge from hospital after 0-1 day, able to self care and mobilise without help from others

2 weeks

2 weeks pain in groin resolved, some scar pain, gradually walking with less need for aids

6 weeks

Walking without crutches into clinic for review at 6 weeks

Information videos