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Computer-assisted hip replacement

Computer-assisted navigation is a technology used by some orthopaedic surgeons to improve their accuracy during hip replacement surgery

Surgeon performing robotic assisted surgery
Hip replacement surgery (also known as hip arthroplasty) is a highly successful operation used to treat chronic hip pain. The surgery replaces a worn or damaged natural hip joint with an artificial one, known as an implant.

Many people with hip pain find their symptoms can be managed successfully with rest, physiotherapy, stretching, pain relief medication or joint injections. Others, often those with more extensive damage to their hip, will still have ongoing challenges moving, sleeping and carrying out many of their normal activities, even after these conservative treatments.

If this is the case, you might be recommended a hip replacement operation. In some instances, consultant orthopaedic surgeons use something called computer-assisted navigation to help them make sure they're being as accurate as possible during surgery.

Could I benefit from hip replacement surgery using computer-assisted navigation?

If this procedure is appropriate in your circumstances, it can potentially offer a number of benefits. If you think this could be the right choice for you, get in touch today to speak to one of our experienced hip surgeons about your options.

If you have any type of hip problem and would appreciate seeing somebody for help, your local Circle Health Group hospital can book a consultation for you with a hip specialist without delay. Following assessment and diagnosis, if computer-assisted navigation hip replacement may be a suitable treatment option for you, this will be discussed with you and arranged at the earliest date.

The cost of a hip replacement starts from about £13,000.*

However, the exact price you pay will depend on various factors, including which hospital you choose and the details of your surgery. Computer-assisted surgery is usually more expensive than traditional surgery.

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, speak to your insurer directly to find out if computer navigation-assisted surgery is covered by your provider.

*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.

Computer-assisted navigation surgery was pioneered in the early 1990s, so it is not a new approach - it has been tested over time and there is good data about its effectiveness.

As the name suggests, it uses computer technology and infrared wave communication to give real-time feedback to the surgeon to help them achieve the positioning of the implant that best matches the natural joint. It can be thought of as like GPS for sat nav in a car.

Mr Reza Jenabzadeh is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who works at a number of our London hospitals. He has extensive experience in computer-assisted navigation hip replacement. He has been performing this surgery for the last 9 years and provides training on it to surgeons both in the UK and internationally. We asked him to explain a bit more about how it works:

"For computer-assisted hip replacement, we use a specially designed computer that has an interactive screen and uses infrared sensors to calculate the orientation of the joint and the path we need to take during the operation.

"With computer-assisted navigation, instead of trying to guess the correct place to position the implant in the hip, we have precise measurements (in millimetres) and angles to use.

"This level of precision helps us better restore the natural biomechanics, as well as leg lengths and offsets, which are all crucial to get the best long-term results."

It is important to note that computer-assisted navigation is not the same as robotic surgery. Computer-assisted navigation provides a guide for the surgeon whereas robotic surgery tools are involved in the actual movements of the surgical instruments.

For many people struggling with debilitating pain and stiffness in their hip caused by a condition such as osteoarthritis, hip replacement surgery can be a life-changing operation.

While hip replacement surgery is helpful for most people, there are some potential complications or problems that can happen, and in some cases the risk of these can be reduced if your surgeon uses computer-assisted navigation.

There are several benefits of using computer-assisted navigation for hip replacement surgery according to Mr Jenabzadeh, including:

  • Reduced risk of incorrect positioning of the hip implant
  • Less risk of leg length inequality following surgery
  • Smaller cuts need to be made in the skin, so scarring is reduced
  • Less soft tissue damage
  • Reduced risk of needing hip replacement revision surgery
  • Lower risk of hip dislocation following surgery

If your surgeon feels that one or more of these benefits could apply to you, they may suggest computer-assisted hip replacement surgery as the best treatment option for you.

Whether surgery is carried out in the traditional way or using computer-assisted navigation, the principle of hip replacement surgery is the same - the damaged hip joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant. The new joint restores pain-free movement to the hip once more.

The most common reason people will need hip replacement surgery is osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that causes the cartilage lining the joint surfaces to break down. Other reasons include rheumatoid arthritis or a hip fracture.

When you first meet with your Circle Health Group consultant, they will talk with you about your symptoms and carry out a clinical examination of your hip, leg, knee and spine. Sometimes, pain in the hip can be referred from one of these areas, so it is always important to rule out other causes.

Further investigations may be needed in some cases to confirm a diagnosis or to rule out other causes. These might include blood tests, X-ray, CT, MRI or ultrasound scans. If any of these are needed, they can be quickly and easily arranged for you at the hospital. Each Circle Health Group hospital has an on-site team of radiologists, who provide fast reporting for any imaging done.

When a diagnosis has been confirmed, your consultant will discuss suitable treatment options with you. This won't necessarily include surgery. We generally try to use non-invasive treatments first before deciding to go ahead with surgery.

Not everybody with hip pain or stiffness will need surgery. Many people find their symptoms are managed and controlled with non-surgical (conservative) treatments. These include:

If these treatments do not work, or they begin to become less effective at managing your symptoms, surgery may be an option. This may be traditional hip replacement surgery or it might be computer-assisted hip replacement.

Not all Circle Health Group hospitals provide computer-assisted hip replacement. If you would like to find a consultant near you who is able to provide this surgery, please phone our friendly team on 0141 300 5009.

Whether you have already been told that hip replacement surgery is an option, or you are not sure what treatment would be best for you and would appreciate advice, our hip specialists can help you get clarity about the best way forward.

Every Circle Health Group hospital provides fast access to consultant-led assessment and treatment for hip problems. Any treatment needed can be arranged for you quickly, without having to spend weeks or months on a waiting list.

Computer-assisted hip replacement is similar in many ways to traditional hip replacement surgery.

Mr Jenabzadeh notes that the main difference is the use of a special marker pin placed at the crest of the pelvic bone. This acts as a reflector for the infrared waves, helping the computer build up an accurate picture of the hip. Having the pin placed into your hip for the operation does mean that you will have an additional scar where the pin is placed. This is only very small, though.

During the operation, the computer calculates in real-time the cup position and orientation as well as relevant parameters like leg length difference and range of motion implications.

With such accurate information to rely on, your consultant can simulate the results of the implant in advance by computer before the implant is positioned and secured in place. Any adjustments can be made at the time the prosthesis is fitted, not afterwards like in traditional surgery.

In Mr Jenabzadeh's experience, recovery times are often slightly reduced compared to traditional hip replacement surgery, but the recovery process itself is the same:

"People are usually home a couple of days after the operation and will be using crutches. I usually see them again at six weeks to check everything is healing as expected.

"By this stage, most people will be moving well without crutches and will be able to start driving again. Exact timings for recovery vary for each person, but things can continue to improve for up to a year."

Hip replacement surgery, whether traditional or computer-assisted navigation, is a significant operation and will take time to fully recover from.

Read our full hip replacement recovery timeline.

Physiotherapy during recovery

Physiotherapy plays an important role in your recovery, and the Circle Health Group physiotherapy team will tailor a recovery and rehabilitation programme for you.

It is important you do any exercises and stretches they advise, as this helps to strengthen and tone the muscles surrounding your hip and will help get you the best return of movement and range of motion over time.

Here are some frequently asked questions about computer-assisted hip replacement surgery.

Is computer-assisted hip replacement suitable for me?

Computer-assisted hip replacement is suitable for everybody who would be able to have traditional hip replacement surgery.

Is computer-assisted hip replacement available near me?

Not all surgeons working in Circle Health Group hospitals offer computer-assisted hip replacement. Similarly, not all of our hospitals have the specialist equipment needed for this operation.

To find out if it is available near you, please contact your local Circle Health Group hospital.

What is CAOS?

This stands for computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery, a broad term used to cover the range of computer-assisted operations available. Computer-assisted hip replacement is one type of CAOS.

How long does computer-assisted hip replacement take?

The operation normally takes between 60 - 90 minutes, but exact timings do vary.

What will my recovery be like?

Recovery from computer-assisted hip replacement surgery is similar to that from traditional hip replacement surgery, although it may be slightly faster.

If you have any questions or concerns at any time during your recovery, it is easy to contact us for advice. It is also simple to book a follow-up private consultation with your consultant if you would like.

I would like to talk with a hip surgeon about computer-assisted hip replacement. How can I do this?

It is quick and easy to book a private consultation at a Circle Health Group hospital. You can do this online or by phoning our friendly bookings team on 0141 300 5009.

Circle Health Group has the UK's largest network of private hospitals, providing fast access to thousands of specialists and advanced healthcare diagnostics and treatments.

When you are struggling with pain and/or stiffness in your hip to the point you have been advised that hip replacement surgery is an option, you will want to get the help you need as soon as possible so that you can be out of pain.

Your local Circle Health Group hospital provides a range of benefits for anybody struggling with a hip problem.

Rapid access to expert treatment

We can book you a private consultation with an experienced hip consultant without delay. While demands on healthcare continue to increase across the UK, we can offer fast access to private care, helping you avoid being stuck on a lengthy waiting list.

Thorough assessment

Circle Health Group hospitals all provide fast access to leading consultants, specialist diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and a wider healthcare team including physiotherapists, radiologists and anaesthetists.

Consultant-directed care at every stage ensures an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan is reached as soon as possible and without unnecessary delay.

Flexible appointments

Every Circle Health Group hospital offers private consultations throughout the week, with many also offering evening and weekend clinics - ideal for people who work and would prefer not to take time off for a medical appointment.

Remote consultations by telephone or video call may also be an option when clinically appropriate, saving you the hassle of travelling.

It is very easy to book a private consultation at your local Circle Health Group hospital, and you can do this online or by phoning our bookings team on 0141 300 5009.

Consultant-led care

At Circle Health Group, you will always see a consultant and will never be treated by a more junior doctor. This also makes it very easy to contact the appropriate person if you have any questions or concerns.

With consultant-directed care, a diagnosis can be reached, and treatment planned and started, far faster than would be possible in many healthcare settings, where access to a consultant can often take a much longer time.

Fast access to diagnostic imaging

Some causes of hip pain can be diagnosed from a clinical history and a physical examination. Others will require some type of diagnostic imaging such as X-ray, CT, MRI or ultrasound to confirm a diagnosis.

Every Circle Health Group hospital offers fast access to imaging like X-rays, MRIs and ultrasounds. On-site consultant radiologists provide fast reporting of any scans so that your consultant can have the results back sooner.

The waiting time in some healthcare settings for an MRI or CT scan is often measured in weeks or even months. At Circle Health Group, it is often a matter of days or hours (and sometimes even minutes!).

Hip pain can be frustrating, demoralising and debilitating. If it is not successfully managed, it can have a significant impact on your quality of life and ability to enjoy your normal everyday activities.

Good help is available for many causes of hip pain, and when you choose private care through Circle Health Group you can benefit from fast access to an experienced team of hip specialists. If computer-assisted navigation for hip replacement would be appropriate, this can be arranged for you without delay.

Why not book your private consultation today? It's easy to do so. Simply find your nearest Circle Health Group hospital and make a booking online. Alternatively, give us a call directly.

We look forward to welcoming you at your local Circle Health Group hospital soon.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in August 2022. Next review due August 2025.

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