What is a hip replacement?
A hip replacement is an operation that replaces a worn or damaged hip joint with an artificial ball and socket joint, known as a prosthesis.
The procedure is performed under general, epidural or spinal anaesthetic. It involves removing your thighbone head and socket and, replacing them with a prosthetic hip joint. Your hip surgeon will discuss the procedure in depth with you.
Your new hip joint should offer:
• pain reduction
• improved mobility
• greater functionality such as walking easier or riding a bike
• an improved quality of life
Are there different types of hip replacements?
There are many types of hip replacements using different artificial joints that can be held in place using cement or non-cement. Your hip surgeon will discuss these options with you.
Your prosthesis can be plastic (polyethylene), metal or ceramic, and used in different combinations including:
• metal-on-plastic - metal ball with a plastic socket. The most widely used combination.
• ceramic-on-plastic - ceramic ball with a plastic socket
• ceramic-on-ceramic – ceramic ball and socket. Ceramic is hard-wearing and often used in younger and more active patients.
• metal-on-metal - metal ball and socket.
Your artificial joint components can be held in place by being:
• cemented (fixed) - your prosthesis is secured to healthy bone using acrylic cement.
• uncemented (pressed into place) – the surfaces of your prosthesis are often treated and roughened to encourage your bone to grow onto it and keep it in place. This method is long lasting and becoming more common, especially in younger, more active patients.
• hybrid - where only one piece is cemented in place.
Who might need a hip replacement?
You may need a hip replacement if your hip joint becomes worn, damaged or diseased over time. If your cartilage wears away the underlying bones are exposed and rub together, and this can make your joint very painful and stiff, and moving around difficult.
If you have persistent hip pain that interferes with your daily life and activities you may be a candidate for hip replacement surgery. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the best options of treatment and whether you should consider a hip replacement.
Initially, you might visit your GP if you are experiencing persistent pain in your hip or if you are finding it difficult to do every day activities because of pain, stiffness or loss of mobility. They may carry out a physical examination, and request X rays and blood tests to diagnose your problem. Your GP may recommend non-surgical treatments such as non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or refer you to a hip surgeon to discuss other options including a hip replacement operation. You may be asked to lose weight if you are overweight.
What conditions may lead to needing a hip replacement?
The main conditions that lead to hip replacement surgery are:
• osteoarthritis – also called "wear and tear arthritis" where the cartilage inside your hip joint becomes worn away and causes your bones to rub against each other.
• rheumatoid arthritis- an immune system condition where your body mistakenly attacks the lining of your hip joint whilst trying to defend it against infection.
• hip fracture - a fall or accident can severely damage your hip joint.
How long does a hip replacement last?
Replacement hips are designed to last for at least 15 years. Often a hip replacement will last 20 to 30 years. For others, an artificial hip may wear and need replacing sooner.
Many factors contribute to the lifespan of an artificial hip including the patient's: physical condition, level of physical activity and, weight.
Cost of a hip replacement
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
A hip replacement may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
Hip replacement recovery
At Ramsay, we understand that your hip replacement journey continues after you leave hospital and your recovery is an important element of the care we provide to help you to return to normal life as soon as possible.
You will need to stay in hospital with us for until we are confident you are ready to go home. This is typically two days or less but may be sooner if you’re recovering well.
One of our experienced physiotherapists will visit you after your operation and then regularly whilst you are in hospital. They will give you some exercises to do to speed up your hip replacement recovery by building the movement and strength in your hip, so it’s important to follow their advice. You will probably need to use crutches or walking sticks to help you walk for a few weeks. It’s likely you’ll have regular appointments with your physiotherapist once you’ve left hospital to continue your recovery work.
Your hip consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re getting and we will book a follow up appointment so that they can check on your progress. Our staff are also available to answer any questions about your hip replacement recovery and what to expect over the weeks after your operation.
Most people make a good hip replacement recovery and benefit from less pain and being able to move about better.
Your hip replacement recovery time is individual to you. Factors such as age, general health, strength of your muscles, the condition of your other joints and, whether you keep to your post-operative advice, may have an effect on your recovery.
Most people can perform their normal activities after three months. You may not be able to take part in high-impact sports or those with a risk of falling. Your hip surgeon will discuss with you, the activities that are likely to be possible for you.
Why go private for a hip replacement?
One of the major advantages of going private for your hip replacement is that your appointments and treatment times are arranged to suit you and without any unnecessary waiting. This is especially important if you are in a lot of pain and don’t want to wait for surgery or if you want to avoid particular dates for surgery.
You will be treated by a highly regarded and experienced orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in hips who will discuss the best prosthesis for you and how it will be held in place based on your individual needs.
Additional benefits of being a private patient include:
• a choice of consultant, where possible
• rapid access to expert opinion on the best treatment for you
• single bedded rooms with en suite bathroom and flat screen TV
• choice from our a la carte menu as an inpatient
• unlimited aftercare
Hip replacement with Ramsay Health Care
Ramsay Health Care has a wealth of experience in delivering high quality hip replacements that are carried out by experienced consultants throughout its private hospitals.
We aim to provide rapid and convenient appointments for the diagnosis and treatment of your hip problem and, to offer you the best care throughout your hip replacement journey, so that you can get on with living your life without pain and restricted mobility.