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Private hip replacement

Fast track your hip replacement in Blackheath

Swift access to private hip and orthopaedic surgery is available at The Blackheath Hospital in Blackheath Village, convenient for people based in Greenwich, Lewisham, and Bexley.

Not everyone with hip pain and stiffness needs hip replacement surgery. Some find relief with rest, painkillers, and physiotherapy. But surgery could put others with acute and chronic hip pain on the path to recovery.

At The Blackheath Hospital, our dedicated team of consultants will get you back on your feet and doing the things you love. Our network of consultant orthopaedic surgeons have vast experience and can rapidly diagnose and treat hip problems.

They can arrange for treatments on-site, from non-invasive physiotherapy to complete reconstructive hip replacement surgery. Our highly skilled surgical team uses the most up-to-date equipment and have access to the latest techniques, including custom-made implants (prostheses).

If you would like to discuss hip surgery with one of our dedicated consultants, you can book a private consultation at a time that is convenient to you, or call us to speak with a friendly member of our advisory team.

Total hip replacement surgery is a major operation, also known as hip arthroplasty, during which your surgeon replaces your damaged or worn hip joint with an artificial joint called an implant.

With advances in anaesthetics, clinical techniques, and implants, it is considered the most successful of all surgical operations, helping eliminate hip pain and improve your mobility.

The orthopaedic hip surgeons at The Blackheath Hospital will only suggest hip replacement surgery when other treatments, such as painkillers, local anaesthetic (steroid) injections and exercise have not worked.

Most hip replacements at the hospital are performed under spinal anaesthesia, so you feel nothing from the waist down, or an epidural that numbs your hip. Some patients stay awake and chat with the anaesthetist or listen to music on headphones while the surgeon works.

Patients can also opt for a general anaesthetic, where they are asleep throughout the operation.

The causes of hip pain depend on your age, the type of pain you’re suffering, and what you’re doing that triggers it. The younger you are, the less likely the cause will be osteoarthritis. The older you are, the more likely it is either rheumatoid arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

You could be in your 20s, 30s or 40s and experiencing hip pain. In that case, it’s more probable that it’s a muscular or soft tissue problem that could be resolved with non-invasive treatment, such as physiotherapy. Still, it could also be a fracture sustained during sport, a fall, or another accident.

After consultation and imaging, your consultant orthopaedic specialist can tell you about the underlying causes of your hip pain.

The typical signs of needing a hip replacement are pain or stiffness in the joint. If you have more bad days than good and the pain affects your quality of life, it may be time to seek an orthopaedic surgeon.

An orthopaedic specialist is an expert in surgical treatments for diseases and injuries to the body’s bones, joints, and other moving parts.

One of the consultant orthopaedic surgeons you can choose at The Blackheath Hospital is Zameer Shah, who also works for the NHS as head of the orthopaedic department at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

Mr Shah says: “Several features will show things are not quite right. For example, if your hip pain doesn’t go away, if it has become dull background pain, or your walking ability is limited, and you can’t do things you did previously. One of the other triggers may be that the pain wakes you up at night.”

You can see a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Blackheath within a day or two of contacting us.

The only waiting time is the week or so it takes for any imaging results done at the first consultation.

But after that, you could be having hip replacement surgery within a few weeks. You can also ask for the procedure to be scheduled at a date to suit you.

While you wait a short time for a hip replacement at The Blackheath, your orthopaedic consultant will stress the importance of staying as mobile and active as possible.

Mr Shah said: “Otherwise, the hip stiffens and can worsen rapidly. We’ll recommend painkillers and physiotherapy sessions for the pain, but you should try to stay active."

“Good exercises include swimming, yoga, walking, and pilates. These low impact activities keep the muscles going without affecting the hip like other impactful sports such as running.”

At your first consultation, your consultant will ask you about your hip pain, what limits your movement, what you have tried to lessen it, what worked and what didn’t, and how it affects your life.

They will then find out about your general health, medical conditions, current medications, and family history to assess whether you are suitable for surgery.

Lastly, you’ll have a physical examination. Your consultant will watch how you stand and walk, take note of your leg length and how your hip moves, where it hurts and in which positions to get a feel for the hip’s condition.

Depending on tests and imaging results at the consultation or later, your consultant will discuss a management plan with you. It could include painkillers to physiotherapy to get you stronger and improve your condition before surgery.

They may also offer you an injection of anaesthesia or anaesthesia and steroids to reduce the pain. Another option is minimally invasive keyhole surgery, known as hip arthroscopy, to diagnose and treat the pain.

If all these have been tried and no longer work, they may recommend a hip replacement.

Imaging and radiology for hip replacement

Your consultant orthopaedic surgeon will arrange for images such as X-rays, computerised tomography (CT scans) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to be taken. Sometimes, your consultant will ask Reception to send you for an X-ray before you see them.

Mr Shah said: “The first investigation is always an X-ray, and, in most cases, it comes back at the same time as the consultation and is all you need to confirm arthritis.

“If there’s something different or unusual, you might need a CT or MRI. These take longer to be performed than X-rays because they must be processed, checked, validated, and reported, so patients have to return for the results.”

Preparing for hip replacement surgery at The Blackheath Hospital

It helps to start preparing for hip replacement surgery as soon as you give the go-ahead for the operation.

Your consultant’s team will let the hospital know you have a hip replacement on the date and time arranged and send you a confirmation letter.

Next, the pre-assessment team will arrange for you to come into The Blackheath Hospital for tests, such as blood tests and an electrocardiogram (ECG), to check your heart rhythm and electrical activity and ensure you are fit for surgery.

The pre-assessment team will also contact the occupational health team at the hospital to assess whether your home is suitable when you return. They might ask about the narrowness of your stairs, whether the lift is working if you live in high-rise accommodation, and how low your chairs are.

In the meantime, you should continue to stay active and keep healthy, so you are in as good a condition as you can be for surgery. It will also help your body recover faster.

You will have time to organise someone to look after pets, children, and anyone else you care for and arrange time away from work. We prefer that someone is there at home when you return from surgery because if you fall, have issues, or drop something, someone is around to help.

Pre-operation: the day before

Your consultant’s office will have sent you a second letter detailing what to expect during surgery and advice on how many hours to fast (stop eating and drinking) beforehand and where to report at the hospital.

Patients are often anxious the night before, so many consultants like to phone them to reassure them and answer further questions.

Preparation in hospital

When you arrive for hip replacement surgery at The Blackheath Hospital, you will sign a consent form, and a nurse will show you where to change into a hospital gown.

The anaesthetist will assess you and discuss the anaesthetic, then you’ll go downstairs for surgery.

Mr Shah said: “It’s a well-oiled machine. You follow the signs on the site plan, which we’ll have sent. You turn up, and we take care of you. You don’t need to worry about anything apart from bringing clothes, toiletries and perhaps something like a book to keep yourself occupied during your time at the hospital.”

Once a patient is anaesthetised, they are transferred to the operating table. In most cases, you will be positioned on your left or right side, with the operating side facing the surgeon.

The patient’s skin around the hip is cleansed, and sterile drapes are placed around the area, leaving the size of a small book exposed. The surgeon will have washed their hands and gowned up while the surgical team gets everything ready for the hip replacement.

There’s a short pause to ensure everyone is happy and nothing is missing. The surgeon will turn to the anaesthetist, who checks your pulse and blood pressure. When the anaesthetist gives the OK, the operation starts.

The surgeon will make a small incision (cut) through the layers of tissue until they can open the hip and look directly into the hip joint, which is made up of a ball and socket.

After dislocating the hip, so the ball comes out of the socket, the surgeon will cut the ball off and prepare the socket and top of the femur (thigh-bone) for the implant. They will measure the patient and use a trial implant the same size as the real one, checking for stability, movement, and leg length.

Once your surgeon is satisfied, the scrub team will collect a new sterile implant from sealed packaging. Having checked it’s the right size, the surgeon will put it where they have successfully trialled it. As the surgeon makes their way back out, they will attach or repair any tissue until they reach the skin.

Mr Shah said: “A few consultants like me will use nothing but dissolvable stitches. The beauty of this is that the body reabsorbs them, and you avoid another slightly painful procedure to take out stitches, staples, or clips. They also leave less of a scar.”

A dressing is added to the area; the patient is turned over and woken up, then taken to the recovery area.

The most common types of hip replacement at The Blackheath Hospital are:

Total hip replacement

A total hip replacement is a damaged hip replaced with an artificial implant after other pain management techniques prove unresponsive. Patients can choose to have custom-made implants tailored to the exact size.

Double hip replacement

Some hip replacements are bilateral, which means both hips are replaced. A double hip replacement is usually only suitable if you have arthritis of both hips and are medically fit.

Half-hip replacement

A half hip surgical procedure, also known as semi arthroplasty, can help older adults who have fallen and broken their hip.

What are hip replacements made of?

All hip replacements are made from a metal alloy. The bearing surface, which includes the ball and the socket’s lining, can be ceramic, metal, or plastic.

The two most common types of hip replacement are a ceramic head moving against a ceramic socket lining and a metal head moving against a plastic lining.

Most surgeons will try to get you standing and walking on the same day, so if you have a hip replacement in the morning, you will be up and about walking with the physios by the afternoon.

Patients can walk around their spotless private room and practise their exercises between sessions. You’ll go home one to two days after your operation.

Hip replacement exercises

You have had a big operation, and it’s an artificial hip, so you need to listen to instructions from the physio and your surgeon.

The best exercise is walking – around the ward, outside, in the park, or taking the dog for a walk. Walking gets your hips and muscles used to moving without pain, giving you more confidence and helping your tissue recover.

Total hip replacement recovery

You must be careful not to put the hip in an extreme position in any direction, or it could dislocate (pop out).

The advice in the first few weeks includes avoiding crossing your feet, sitting on a low chair or doing deep squats, but as time goes on and the hip settles, you can do more – especially after about a year.

Hip replacement recovery week by week

In the first week, you’ll still feel the effects of surgery. After two weeks, the hospital will see you and check on the wound; then, you can shower on it and use skin lotions, creams, or bio-oil.

After six weeks, you can drive, go back to work, take a long-haul flight, have a bath, and go swimming. But for some, it’ll be sooner than that.

It’s rare for anything to go wrong with a hip replacement. Everything is done at the ultra-clean hospital to minimise complications, such as antibiotics given to prevent infection and compression stockings to reduce the risk of blood clots.

However, the risks can include:

  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Hip dislocation
  • Joint loosening (very rare)
  • Fracture
  • Altered leg length

Total hip replacement cost packages at The Blackheath Hospital range from £11,940 for a generic implant up to £14,936 for a top-band ceramic-on-ceramic procedure.

There are two other bandings between those prices that depend on the size of the implant the surgeon uses. Revision surgery can cost between £15,000 and £16,000.

Most things fall within the cost of the procedure. As well as the consultation and surgery, the price includes VAT and physiotherapy, aids such as crutches, accommodation, medication, the follow-up with the consultant and aftercare up to six months post-operation.

It’s rare for something unexpected to reveal itself during surgery, such as a damaged ligament, but most issues are factored into the price. The consultant will tell you if there’s a separate charge for anything.

Spreading the cost

The Blackheath offers interest-free finance for 12 months through Chrysalis Finance and low APR rates after 12 months. You can expect a quick decision on whether you can borrow. If finance is accepted, the funds will be released near the day of the operation.

Self-pay for treatment

Patients can choose to pay for the operation themselves, and in most cases, we can provide an upfront, all-inclusive fixed price. The initial consultation is not included.

Paying with health insurance

If you would like to pay for a hip replacement through your health insurance, ask your insurer whether they will pay for more than a basic implant. Some policies give patients a limit that includes the consultant’s fee, but blood and imaging charges can be extra.

Find out more about ways to pay for treatment.

The waiting times for the first appointment with an orthopaedic hip surgeon is one to two days, and the radiology department can see you for an X-ray or scans on the same day.

Good results in hip replacement surgery depend on a great team, and our multidisciplinary teams at The Blackheath Hospital are second to none.

You can expect a personalised, caring, compassionate and professional service from the surgical team to the nursing team on the wards and the admin team who coordinate schedules with the surgeon and respond to queries.

You also have a massive choice about who will do the surgery and when. Please browse our list of specialists to find consultant orthopaedic hip surgeons at The Blackheath.

Another plus for patients in Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley is the hospital’s central location in Blackheath village. You can approach it by car via the M25, A20 and A2 and it is within walking distance of Blackheath train station.

You can also book an appointment online, searching by treatment and the hospital by name.

Could hip pain be cancer?

The chance of the cause being cancer is extremely low. However, if you have had cancer before, your doctor may suggest some tests to be on the safe side.

What are the signs of a hip replacement wearing out?

Hip replacements do not last forever. The artificial materials used will naturally wear.

So, if an earlier hip replacement has been acceptable for several years and you gradually or suddenly experience pain around that hip, it may have become loose, worn, or infected in rare cases. More often, people have knocked or sprained the hip. A consultant orthopaedic surgeon can explain the reasons after your consultation and tests.

How best can you manage hip pain?

Most patients start by seeing their GP, chiropractor, or physiotherapist, who will assess their condition and usually recommend painkillers and exercise to manage it. If all else fails, the next step may be an operation, referring you to a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. The Blackheath Hospital has various experienced specialist hip surgeons to choose from.

How long does hip replacement surgery take?

For most straightforward hip replacements, you can expect surgery to take 60 to 90 minutes.

The surgeon will use your recovery time (roughly 10 minutes) to write up notes and instructions to the ward team. By this time, patients are usually more awake. Your surgeon will talk to you and reassure you that everything went well.

If you are stable after half an hour in recovery, where you’ll have a drink, you’re transferred to the ward for food and refreshment. Within an hour, the physiotherapist will see you and start exercises.

How long after hip replacement can I tie my shoes?

You will usually see your surgeon after six weeks, and by then, you will not need painkillers or crutches.

After that, it depends on the individual. If you could tie your shoelaces before your hip gets painful and worn out, you’re usually able to do so again after three months.

How long does a hip replacement last?

The best hip replacements will last about 20 years. If you look after your body and health, it could last 25 to 30 years.

Pain after hip replacement: what is normal?

The pain you experienced from the arthritic hip will be gone when surgery is over. But you will have minimal to low pain for 24 hours because of the anaesthetic.

Most patients experience minimal pain around the hip where the cut was made. It will feel like a deep cut that has healed and becomes a dull ache – it’s bearable because you’ll be on painkillers.

Thigh pain could also be due to surgery and the muscle not yet fully recovering, but most people have minimal discomfort four to six weeks later.

If the arthritic pain returns two to five years after having the operation, the hospital will do tests and investigations to rule out infection or loosening.

Specialists offering Private hip replacement

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Mr Patrick Li

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS (London), MD, FRCS (Orth)

The Sloane Hospital 1 more The Blackheath Hospital

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Mr Wallace Ogufere

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS, FRCS, FRCS (Orth)

The Blackheath Hospital

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Mr Dominic Davenport

Orthopaedic

MBBS, BSc(Hons), FRCS(Tr&Orth), MSc (Sports and Exercise Medicine)

The Sloane Hospital 2 more The Blackheath Hospital Chelsfield Park Hospital

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Mr Rahij Anwar

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

CCT, FRCS (Tr & Orth), Dip (Tr & Orth), MSc (Trauma), MRCS, MS (Orth), MBBS

The Blackheath Hospital

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Mr Samuel Orakwe

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

MBBS, FRCS (Ed), FRCS (Orth)

The Blackheath Hospital 1 more The Sloane Hospital

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Mr Venu Kavarthapu

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

1993 MBBS, Guntur Medical College, India 1998 FRCS Edinburgh 2004 FRCS (Tr&Orth) Intercollegiate

The Blackheath Hospital 1 more The Sloane Hospital

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