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What hip surgery options are there?

Not everybody with hip pain will need surgery, but hip fractures almost always need fixation, which stabilises the bone and helps it to heal, or replacement of the ball of the hip. Hip fractures often occur in elderly people, and they can take a long time to fully recover from. People can often be in hospital for a couple of weeks or more to get over the fall and the operation, and many often need extra help at home after discharge.

Hip replacement surgery

If your hip pain is caused by arthritis and it’s getting worse, your doctor may talk to you about hip replacement.

Hip replacement is an extremely good treatment for arthritis-related hip pain, and modern techniques make the operation very safe with good outcomes.

Nowadays, many people only need to stay in hospital for a few days after their hip replacement, but it may be helpful if somebody is available to stay with you for a couple of weeks as your mobility and confidence improves. Physiotherapists will help you become mobile when you’re in hospital, and they’ll help you practise getting in and out of bed, out of chairs and up and down stairs safely.

If you’re being considered for hip replacement, it’s important that you’re in good health before the operation.

You’ll probably be referred to the hospital for an assessment before the operation and they’ll check your general health.

Your surgeon will talk to you about the operation itself, and you’ll meet the physiotherapists and occupational therapists who’ll be involved in your treatment after surgery.

The outcomes of hip replacements are extremely good – 90% or more of people who have had a hip replacement find their pain is greatly reduced. Modern hip replacements should last many years – around 80% of cemented hips should last for 20 years.

Revision surgery

If your hip replacement becomes loose, infected or otherwise fails, it’s possible to have surgical treatment. Modern revision surgery techniques are developing quickly and most failed hip replacements can be dealt with, which can restore function and activity.

Revision surgery is carried out by specialists in the field. You’ll be in hospital longer than for your first hip replacement, and it might take longer to recover. You’ll need physiotherapy after revision surgery to help you gain confidence in your new joint, and you’ll need someone to help you out for a couple of weeks or more when you go home.

Acetabular labrum surgery

A torn acetabular labrum can be repaired by surgical reshaping of the hip. In some cases this procedure can be performed through just a small incision (arthroscopically), so your joint doesn’t have to be opened up. This is also known as keyhole surgery, and it can be done as a day case or one-night stay in hospital.

You’ll need between one and two months off work.

We don’t yet know what the long-term effects of acetabular labrum surgery are, but you may get better hip movement as a result of it.


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