Your questions answered

Many of the patients I see have lots of questions. This resource is to help answer some of those before your appointment and put your mind at ease.

How will I know when I need a hip replacement?

Hip problems can have a huge impact on your quality of life. When symptoms are persistent and progressive, surgery often becomes necessary.

Generally it’s better to consider surgery when your symptoms are keeping you from carrying out day-to-day activities.

Are there any alternatives to a total hip replacement?

Initially, physiotherapy and analgesia (pain medication) along with some lifestyle changes can help avoid surgery.

Do you use steroid injections as an alternative?

I generally only recommend injections if you’re unlikely to need an operation in the near future, as they marginally increase your risk of infection if you proceed to surgery. Often the effects of these injections can be very short-lived and repeated injections can prove less helpful.

Does stem cell treatment work for hips?

Currently there’s no evidence to support stem cell treatments in the management of advanced arthritis.

What is hip resurfacing?

Hip resurfacing is a different type of hip replacement, where the surfaces of the joint are relined with metal. Unfortunately, hip resurfacing hasn’t produced the long-term results to match hip replacements. Some patients can develop an adverse reaction to these metal implants, which can cause permanent damage to the muscles and tissues. As a result, hip resurfacing is now rarely recommended, and may require lifelong monitoring with blood tests and scans.

Will I need an MRI?

You may need further imaging such as an MRI, but this will usually be decided after your examination.

My X-ray shows signs of osteoarthritis, does this mean I need a hip replacement?

No. Many patients have signs of arthritis on their X-ray, but few symptoms. We’ll look at the X-ray, your symptoms, and any examination findings to determine whether a replacement is right for you.

How long will I need to stay in hospital?

Most patients are sufficiently recovered to return home after two nights in hospital.

When can I drive again?

About 80% of patients are able to return to driving after two weeks.

How long will I have to use crutches or a walking stick?

By the two week mark, most patients will have given up their walking aids for short distances. For longer walks, a stick can help prevent your muscle from fatiguing. 

When can I resume sport?

You’ll be able to return to activities such as golf after about six weeks. For tennis, it’s usually 10 to 12 weeks, and four months for skiing around four months. To return to impact sports that include a lot of running around, six months is usual.

Will I have to have a general anaesthetic?

We try to avoid a general anaesthetic where possible. Most patients have an injection in their back to numb their legs for a few hours, combined with some sedation so that they’re unaware of the surgery. This allows patients to be mobile within a few hours of the surgery without the side effects of a general anaesthetic.

Is there a higher risk having both hips replaced together?

If both hips are equally symptomatic, replacing both together can be a safe and effective way of returning your quality of life. I haven’t found there to be an increased risk, and the recovery time is much shorter than if you were to have them replaced separately. It’s important to note that this surgery won’t be suitable for every patient.

What is revision surgery?

On the rare occasions a hip replacement fails, the procedure has to be carried out again. This is known as revision surgery.
Book a consultation
back to top