How are hip replacements made?

How Are Hip Replacements Made?

While it’s most commonly older people in the UK who undergo hip replacement surgery, it’s not unknown for younger people to also require a hip replacement due to underlying health conditions, accidents and injuries.  

If you’re considering talking to a specialist about the possibility of hip replacement surgery, or you’re already due for a hip replacement, then you may want to find out what to expect. To help ensure that you have all the hip replacement information you need, we’ve put together a quick guide to hip replacements; why you might need one, how they’re carried out and what they’re made from. 

What are the reasons for having a hip replacement?

You may consider having a hip replacement if your hip joint is worn and causing significant pain, reducing your quality of life. One of the most common conditions that leads to this type of hip replacement surgery is osteoarthritis, although other conditions or injuries may also result in the need for hip surgery.

A worn hip joint is usually spotted through a range of symptoms of hip pain, including reduced mobility, which can stop you from doing even simple tasks. The pain can be constant and present, even if you’re not moving.

But it’s unlikely that hip replacement surgery will be offered as a first response to pain and discomfort. Other hip treatments, such as steroid injections or physiotherapy, will be offered first and, if they don’t work for you, a hip replacement may be the next step.

How are hip replacements carried out?

Hip replacements are carried out under either a general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthesia.

During spinal anaesthesia, the lower half of your body is numbed. However, you’ll be sedated as well so that you’re asleep during the procedure.

The recovery period differs from person to person. You may even be able to walk the same day as your operation. Some orthopaedic specialists, including at Benenden Hospital, run rapid recovery programmes or hip replacement day surgery where you could be back on your feet and walking just a couple of hours post-surgery. But in most cases, you can expect to be in hospital for approximately three days.

During this time, you’ll be given antibiotics to reduce the chances of infection and injections to prevent blood clotting.

What materials are used in an artificial hip replacement?

Artificial hips are made up of a variety of components and are made from a range of materials including metals such as titanium, cobalt chrome and stainless steel. Other materials used include strong polyethylene and ceramics

You can discuss the type of implant that’s best for you with your Consultant and use this opportunity to ask any questions or voice any concerns that you may have. This is an important consideration as the material of your implant may affect how long it will last.

What are the different types of artificial hip joints?

Hip replacements come in a range of different styles, using different materials and may be described as metal on poly, ceramic on poly or ceramic on ceramic.

Your Consultant will discuss these options with you and use the implant type that best meets your needs

How long will a hip replacement last?

The durability of the implant also depends on the material and its design. The NHS states that hip replacements are designed to last up to 15 years. However, there’s new evidence to suggest that they last longer. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that 58% of hip replacements last up to 25 years.

This difference in estimates between the NHS and researchers is because the NHS tends to err on the side of caution by stating how long they’re designed to last, rather than how long they actually last.

Hip replacement surgery at Benenden Hospital

If you have a question about hip replacement surgery, or would like to discuss any of our other treatments and procedures, we’re ready to help. As one of the leading centres in the South East for hip and knee surgery, we have the experience to answer any questions you may have, whether you’re only recently experiencing hip discomfort or you’re awaiting surgery. 

Contact us using our online form or by calling our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158 to find out how a hip replacement could change your life for the better.

Published on 20 October 2020