During the procedure, an orthopaedic surgeon will remove your damaged hip joint and replace it with a prosthesis. This is sometimes referred to as an implant or as an artificial hip. The prosthesis is usually constructed of metal, ceramic, plastic, or a combination of the three.
If you are living with a painful hip joint that's affecting your quality of life, you’ve landed in the right place. Hip replacement surgery could be the best treatment option to help you take control of your health and get you back on your feet, doing the things you love.
This page explains everything you need to know about hip replacement surgery, including information on hip replacement recovery timelines and the benefits of physiotherapy after surgery.
Consultant Hip & Knee Surgeon Mr Reshid Berber explains: "Hip conditions such as arthritis can negatively impact a person's quality of life and impair one's enjoyment from sporting pursuits and hobbies. It can affect patients of all ages. Hip surgery such as joint replacement is aimed at improving one's quality of life and getting patients back to doing the things they enjoy."
The main benefits of this type of hip surgery are a reduction (and often a complete elimination) of hip pain, increased strength in your hip, and improved flexibility and range of movement in the joint. These benefits are long-lasting, with patients still feeling the advantages at least ten years later.
In practice, most hip replacements last much longer than ten years.
A recent study by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) found that around 95% of hip replacements last beyond a decade. Another study, highlighted by the National Institute for Health Research, found that more than 50% of hip replacements last for 25 years or more.
What is orthopaedic surgery?
Orthopaedics is the medical specialty concerned with the treatment of injuries and disorders of your joints and their associated soft tissues. 'Associated soft tissues' means your ligaments, nerves and muscles. These components make up your musculoskeletal system, which helps to support your bodily functions, protect your skeletal muscles, and aid your movement.
Many different things can cause damage to your musculoskeletal system, most of which can be categorised as either traumatic injuries or medical conditions. This damage can cause pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in your affected joint(s), which in turn can dramatically impact your overall quality of life. While pain from an injury or a joint condition may be widespread, it is more often localised in one joint, for example your knee, wrist, ankle or hip.
Orthopaedic surgery is any surgery that concerns injuries and conditions of your musculoskeletal system. Many of our specialists are consultant orthopaedic surgeons, meaning they are highly trained in performing surgical procedures. However, if we can avoid performing surgery and use less invasive methods instead, this is normally our preference. We don't recommend surgery unless it's definitely the best option for you.
So, if you visit one of our orthopaedic consultant surgeons about your hip pain, they will first consider whether there are any appropriate non-surgical methods that could help ease your pain and improve the mobility in your joint.
Hip pain: finding the right treatment for you
Non-surgical methods to reduce and manage hip joint pain include:
Also known as steroid injection therapy, this treatment involves injections of steroid medication (corticosteroid) into your painful hip joint. This can effectively reduce pain and inflammation in your hip, and the effects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This form of pain relief may be recommended if you can't take oral anti-inflammatories for any reason.
These can either be prescribed by your GP or your consultant. They reduce swelling in your hip, which can lessen stiffness and pain. Your doctor might also recommend using heat therapy (in the form of icepacks or heat pads) to reduce swelling or numb your joint pain. Heat therapy can be used in addition to anti-inflammatory medication.
Physiotherapy for joint pain comprises a specialist exercise programme designed to strengthen the muscles around your joints, improving mobility and – in taking the pressure of your joints – reducing your pain. It can be a highly effective treatment and many people see amazing results.
If you have private physiotherapy with Circle Health Group, we will build a custom programme of exercises to help you to strengthen your hip and the surrounding muscles. Our hospitals are all equipped with advanced specialist equipment to help you get the best from your sessions.
If you are interested in hip physiotherapy and would like to try this before considering surgery, you can refer yourself to any of our physiotherapy departments, without needing a reference from your GP. Call us on 0141 300 5009 to get started. If the physiotherapist you see thinks that you would better benefit from another treatment, whether instead of or alongside their sessions, they can directly refer you to one of our experienced orthopaedic consultants.
If the forms of pain relief listed above do not effectively alleviate your joint pain symptoms, it might be time to speak with an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss the possibility of having hip replacement surgery.
The cost of hip resurfacing surgery starts from £14,625*
The cost of complex hip replacement surgery starts from £16,550*
Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.
Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.
If you have private health insurance, hip replacement surgery will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.
*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.
Osteoarthritis is when the smooth cartilage across the surface of your hip joint wears down over time. You'll sometimes hear it referred to as wear and tear arthritis, and it's more common the older we get. The wear and tear can make your joint very painful and stiff and can really reduce your mobility.
This is the most common type of arthritis both in the UK and worldwide and it is the most common reason why people have hip replacement surgery.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) currently affects more than 400,000 people in the UK. It is an inflammatory joint condition caused by an autoimmune process, which happens when your body attacks its healthy cells by mistake. This often causes pain, swelling, and inflammation in your joints. Joints affected by RA are commonly surrounded by inflamed tissue, which often results in chronic pain.
A hip fracture is when a crack occurs at the top of your thigh bone (femur). Hip fractures are usually caused by a traumatic injury such as an injury during contact sports, but they can sometimes happen because of a condition that weakens your hip bone, for example osteoporosis.
This is a much less common form of arthritis. It's a severe joint infection that can be caused by a traumatic injury to your joint, including a bite or wound. It can also happen as the result of an infection following surgery. Septic arthritis requires immediate medical attention. The damage caused by septic arthritis can lead to the need for hip replacement surgery.
- Hip or groin pain
- Hip pain when exercising and walking
- Hip pain during sex
- Stiffness and restriction of movement
- Hip pain when walking
- Hip pain at night
- An inability to support your bodyweight on one leg
- Limited relief from other treatment options
Living with persistent hip pain can massively affect your quality of life. We surveyed over 8,000 people for our Joint Pain Matters 2020 report and found that joint pain affected everything from sleep patterns to romantic relationships. 66% of people with joint pain found it difficult to sleep, while 50% felt their relationships had suffered as a result of living in pain.
Chronic pain takes its toll on your ability to function in everyday life. You might find you're no longer able to stay active, or that everyday tasks such as driving your car or carrying shopping bags become an insurmountable challenge. Almost 70% of our survey respondents said their mental health was impacted by living with joint pain.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, or if your mental health has suffered as a result of hip pain, you might need hip replacement surgery. To find out more about the surgery, you can book an appointment with one of our experienced orthopaedic surgeons by calling us on 0141 300 5009, or booking an appointment online.
During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask in detail about your general health and your medical history. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions, as well as the current hip pain symptoms you are experiencing. They'll ask you how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur, and whether you have had any treatment for them yet.
In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your hip pain, your consultant will next carry out a gentle physical examination of your joint(s). In some cases they might also send you to get an X-ray, which will be done onsite by one of our radiologists. All of this helps your consultant to make a diagnosis of the cause of your hip pain.
Once they have identified what's causing your hip problems, they will share more information about hip replacement surgery and whether it could be the right treatment for you.
Your initial consultation is an important and positive step in your journey towards improved mobility and reduced joint pain. It's where we start to get to know you as an individual and it's from the information we find out during this session that we will start building a treatment plan, bespoke to your needs. To make the most of the initial consultation, you should feel free to talk as openly and honestly as you like about the pain and other symptoms you're experiencing, the way they make you feel, and what you're hoping to get from surgery.
This is also a safe space for you to ask as many questions as you like, however big or small. Your consultant will be an expert in hip replacement surgery and will have extensive experience in helping people with hip pain, so do take the opportunity to make the most of their knowledge. Whether it's easing your fears about having surgery or explaining what to expect from hip surgery recovery, this is a safe space to ask.
The time you'll wait between your initial consultation and having hip replacement surgery (or any other treatment you're recommended) will differ from person to person. For example, someone who has suffered a traumatic injury may need to be seen very quickly. However, you should not expect to be waiting a long time, and we don't delay or reschedule treatment except in emergencies.
Your surgeon will give you a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. Once you've agreed to the costs, we can get you booked in to have your surgery at a time that suits you.
If you are overweight, your consultant will ask that you lose weight before surgery. They'll give you detailed advice about how to do this safely and healthily, and how to maintain a balanced diet and exercise regime that suits you as an individual.
The reason we encourage people to lose weight before surgery is that doing so can decrease the risk of complications during surgery. It can also help you recover faster after surgery.
Staying active not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but also strengthens the muscles around your hip, which could help you recover faster from surgery and make your new hip feel better in the long term. This exercise does not have to be high-impact. It could involve walking a bit more or doing some gentle swimming in the weeks or months leading up to your surgery.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you might also be referred to a physiotherapist, who will put together a simple exercise plan that you can follow to help you get stronger before surgery.
You should avoid drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours before having hip replacement surgery. Please speak with your consultant about this in more detail.
A healthy diet
Your consultant will discuss the sort of food you should eat before surgery, as well as whether there are any foods you should avoid consuming beforehand. If needed, you can work with a dietician to build a tailored food plan to follow before and after your surgery. Please discuss this with your consultant in more detail.
Changes to your medication
Your consultant will also share information on whether you should avoid taking your usual medication before going into hospital, or the kind of medication you might need to take after you have surgery.
Eliminate tripping hazards at home
Remember to eliminate any tripping hazards such as uneven flooring (this could be anything from uneven tiles to loose rugs and carpets) or general mess in your home before surgery. This is to ensure you don't trip and injure your hip further after surgery.
Making your home recovery-friendly
In the weeks after your surgery, your mobility will be limited as you recover. We recommend stocking up your house with food and resources or arranging for a friend or family member to do so. You might need a raised toilet seat or shower stool to use after surgery. Both of these can help you avoid bending your hip too much, which can slow down your recovery time.
You'll also need to think about how you're getting to and from hospital, and have this arranged before you come in for surgery. Perhaps a friend or family member can give you a lift, or maybe you'd rather book a taxi. (Call your hospital directly and we'll be happy to book a cab for you.)
Inside your hip joint
The hip joint is made of two bones: the thighbone (femur) and the pelvis. The hip is what's known as a ball-and-socket joint. The 'ball' is the femoral head, which is the top of the thighbone. The 'socket' is a part of your pelvis called the acetabulum.
With a partial hip replacement operation, your surgeon will remove and replace your femoral head. This is replaced with a prosthesis. Your acetabulum is left in place.
This type of surgery is only suitable in certain cases. For example, many people will have damage to both the ball and socket elements of their hip joint. If this is the case, your surgeon will instead perform a total knee replacement operation, where both the femoral head and the acetabulum are removed and replaced with implants.
Partial hip replacement surgery
Before you have surgery, you will be given an anaesthetic. This is usually either a general anaesthetic (which means you'll be asleep for the whole operation) or a spinal anaesthetic (which numbs you from the waist down). If you have a spinal anaesthetic, you will normally be given a sedative, too, so you'll be drowsy and probably won't remember much of what happens. Whichever type of anaesthetic you have, you will not feel any pain during surgery.
During partial hip replacement surgery, your consultant orthopaedic surgeon will make an incision on the side of your hip and remove your damaged femoral head. This will then be replaced with an artificial joint. Whether this is a cemented or uncemented ceramic hip replacement (a ceramic ball attached to a metal stem), or a fully metal hip replacement, depends which material your consultant decides is the best option for you. Sometimes, the prosthesis is a combination of different materials.
All the varieties of implant that our consultants use have been tried and tested and shown to offer great results. There are different benefits to different types, and your surgeon will have explained ahead of time exactly why they chose the one they did.
Before placing the permanent prosthesis, your surgeon will have first used a test implant to check that their measurements are correct and that the new joint moves as it should. The aim is to fit the prosthesis as precisely as possible in order that your new hip feels as natural and works as well as possible.
Total hip replacement surgery
As with partial hip replacement surgery, a total hip replacement is usually done under either general or spinal anaesthetic.
During the operation, your consultant will remove your damaged femoral head and socket and replace each with their respective artificial components. Again, they will have tested the measurements of the implants to get the best possible fit. The better your new hip fits, the better it should feel in the long term.
With both partial and total hip replacement surgery, once your implant is in the joint your consultant will bend and move your leg to ensure you have the right level of flexibility. If so, they'll close the incision using dissolvable stitches. The outermost layer of your skin will be closed with glue or sutures.
A hip replacement operation (whether partial or total) typically takes one to two hours. After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room to be monitored, then once our team are confident everything has gone well, you'll be transferred to your private bedroom to start your recovery in comfort.
Minimally invasive hip replacement surgery
Some orthopaedic surgeons favour what is known as a minimally invasive approach to hip replacement surgery. This is where your surgeon uses smaller cuts (incisions) into your hip to get access to the joint, and will generally use specially designed equipment to perform the hip replacement.
There are some benefits to this approach, which can allow for less pain after the operation and might cause less damage to the muscles and tendons around the joint. A minimally invasive hip replacement scar may also be smaller than the scar from traditional surgery, however this won't always be the case, and a hip replacement scar is not something you should worry about.
Minimally invasive surgery is not always the best option for everyone, but do speak to your consultant if it's something you would like to hear more about.
Hip resurfacing surgery
You may have heard of hip resurfacing surgery, which is another type of hip surgery that's quite similar to a hip replacement operation and is also used to treat chronic hip pain.
Hip resurfacing is a less extensive operation on your hip, which trims and shaves the damaged bone and cartilage in your joint, and adds a metal cover to the bones (both the femoral head and the acetabulum). This is a way of repairing the joint without removing as much of the bone.
This procedure won't be the right choice for everyone, so it's important to discuss all the options with your consultant. You can find more information on our page about hip resurfacing surgery.
- How fit you were before having hip replacement surgery
- Your usual everyday activities
- The nature of your job
- Your age
Your orthopaedic surgeon will understand your personal circumstances better and be able to advise what your specific hip surgery recovery timeline looks like.
One to two days after surgery
By one or two days after surgery, most people can get out of bed and walk, though you'll need to use walking aids such as crutches or a walker. Your physiotherapist will be there to help you get out of bed and take your first steps following the operation.
Most people can leave hospital after two or three days, but you won't be able to drive for a while, so we recommend you ask a friend or family member to come and collect you. Or of course you can go home in a taxi, and we'll be happy to arrange one for you.
Within two weeks, you will be able to walk more regularly, but you will still need to use a walking aid.
Two to six weeks after surgery
You can start incorporating gentle exercise back into your routine after two to six weeks. It's different for everyone, and your surgeon and physiotherapist will have explained to you what to do and how to know when you're ready. Going on long, slow walks can really help you build up your fitness and mobility again.
You can also usually return to work at this stage, depending on the type of work you do. Most people with office jobs are able to go back into work, but if you have a manual or physical job you might need more time off. Again, your consultant will have talked you through all these factors.
Eight weeks after surgery
Most people are walking unaided after hip replacement surgery at about eight weeks. You should speak to your consultant about whether you can drive again, as this will depend on the progress of your hip replacement recovery. It is usually safe when you can perform an emergency stop without any pain or other issue. You should also talk to your car insurance provider, as they may have specific rules about when you can drive after surgery.
You can have sex about eight weeks after surgery, but you should do this carefully to avoid dislocating your hip. You may well not feel ready to have sex at eight weeks post-surgery, and that's absolutely fine. Recovery is about listening to your body.
A hip replacement scar is natural. It's the mark to show where your surgeon made the incision to gain access to your hip, and it's an unavoidable side-effect of surgery. Its size depends on the size of your hip, as well as the type of surgery you had. For example, if you have minimally invasive hip surgery, this can lead to a smaller scar.
Whatever you scar looks like at this stage in your recovery from hip surgery, try not to focus on it too much. The scar tissue will heal and fade naturally over time. There may be ways that you can accelerate the healing of your scar tissue. Speak to your orthopaedic surgeon if you are interested in learning more.
Twelve weeks after surgery
Six to 12 weeks after hip replacement surgery, you should be well on the way to a full recovery and able to carry out everyday activities with ease. Full recovery from hip replacement surgery will probably take you more like six to 12 months, however most people feel most of the way back to their normal selves at around ten or 12 weeks post-surgery.
Physiotherapy after hip replacement surgery
Physiotherapy is a very important part of your hip replacement recovery journey at Circle Health Group. How well you follow the guidance of your physiotherapist can have a huge impact on how well and how quickly you recover.
You will meet your physiotherapist at the hospital after your operation, if not before. They will get to know you and your individual circumstances, and they'll tailor our specialised hip replacement recovery programme so that it's bespoke to you. This plan will be made up of exercises to strengthen your hip muscles and improve your mobility and the range of motion in your hip. These exercises can accelerate your hip replacement recovery.
Your physiotherapist will let you know how regularly you should do these exercises outside of your sessions, and they'll help you source ant equipment you might need to help you do them. They'll also give you advice on how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine at home, so that your physiotherapy becomes a normal part of your day.
Walking after hip replacement surgery
You might wonder how much walking after hip replacement is healthy. One of the best forms of exercise you can do following hip replacement surgery is simply walking. It maintains your fitness levels and ensures you strengthen your hip muscles. Ask your consultant or physiotherapist how regularly and for how long you should be walking each day to best support your recovery. They might set you dedicated recovery objectives to achieve through exercises and movement.
Pain after hip replacement: what is normal?
Some initial pain and swelling around your hip joint are normal following hip replacement surgery. Your consultant can advise how to reduce this pain and swelling through physiotherapy, heat therapy and medication. They can also advise how much pain is normal for you to experience, and the next steps to take if your pain level is unusually high.
The pain you feel at this point is called post-surgical pain, and while it might be intense, it should be different to the hip pain you experienced before. For most people, the chronic joint pain they suffreed with before surgery will be gone.
Potential complications during any surgical procedure include:
- Infection in the surgical wound
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots
- Chest infection
- Difficulty passing urine
- Heart attack
Specific complications that can occur during a hip replacement surgery include:
- Pain in your hip persisting after surgery
- A split in your femur
- Damage to your nerves
- Damage to blood vessels
- Infection in your hip
- Bone forming in the muscles around your hip replacement
- Persistent pain around your greater trochanter (the tip of your femur)
- Loosening of your joint
- Hip dislocation
- Leg length discrepancy
Serious complications as a result of hip replacement surgery are rare. If you have any concerns about these, speak with your consultant. They will be able to discuss their likelihood with you in more detail and put your worries at ease.
Before surgery, Richard lived with devastating chronic pain that affected his ability to stay active and stopped him getting on with everyday tasks. This was Richard's life for more than a decade. He managed his pain through medication and physiotherapy, but while these options did help manage his pain, Richard remained in constant discomfort.
In particular, Richard found he struggled to sleep,and socialising became more and more challenging. His mental health took a toll and he felt isolated and unhappy.
Richard’s consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Rama Mohan, confirmed that total hip replacement surgery would be the best treatment for him. Richard was delighted by the support and reassurance provided by Mr Mohan.
“He told me what the operation would involve, the recovery period, and the aid that I would need while recuperating," explains Richard. "He put my mind at rest and was totally confident about what the outcome would be. I was absolutely delighted by his care.”
Following hip replacement surgery, Richard now leads an active and fulfilled life with no pain. He cycles regularly and runs a successful local business. He urges anyone struggling with hip pain to seek treatment and to go for hip replacement if needed. It might just change your life.
“Don’t let your hip get to the point where it is affecting your life so badly that you have no life . Have the operation. The recovery period is short, and you get better so quickly.”
We answer some frequently asked questions about hip replacement surgery.
How long does a hip replacement last?
Hip replacements usually last for 15 to 25 years, with more than 50% lasting for 25 years and more.
How long after hip replacement can I tie my shoes?
It can take up to three months for the tissue in your hip to heal after surgery. During this time, your physical activity should be limited to the exercises and movements set by your physiotherapist. Bending down in a 90 degree angle to tie your shoes should be avoided during this period, unless advised otherwise by your consultant or physiotherapist.
How much does a hip replacement cost?
Your hip replacement cost in the UK will differ depending on where you receive treatment and the procedural options chosen by your consultant. Here are some guide prices to give you an idea:
The cost of your hip replacement surgery with Circle Health Group:
Hip resurfacing surgery starts from £13,737
Complex hip replacement surgery starts from £12,184
Primary hip replacement surgery starts from £11,063
These prices are for illustrative purposes only. Your consultant will confirm the price for your surgery after you've had your initial consultation.
When can I bend down after hip replacement surgery?
As mentioned above, it can take up to three months for the tissue in your hip to heal after surgery, which means you should avoid certain exercises, such as bending down at a 90 degree angle, until your consultant or physiotherapist tells you otherwise. If you don't follow this advice, it could significantly affect your recovery.
How long does it take to recover from hip replacement surgery?
Everyone recovers differently depending on a number of factors, such as your age and general health, but it is often possible to return to everyday activities and office work within six weeks of surgery. During this time, you should follow the set exercises provided by your physiotherapist and avoid any heavy lifting or high-impact activity.
Many people make a full recovery within 12 weeks, but this depends on various factors personal to you.
- Flexible appointment times to fit your schedule
- The freedom to choose your hospital and your consultant
- Bespoke, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
- Private en-suite rooms as standard
- Tasty and nutritious meals cooked onsite to your dietary requirements
- Support from the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
- Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
- Flexible payment options to help spread the cost of your care
If you want to know more about hip replacement surgery and find out if it's the right treatment for you, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.