Saint Alphonsus Health System

Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Replacement

What is hip replacement?
Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure for replacing the hip joint. Hip replacement surgery involves removing the hip joint and putting in a prosthesis made of metal and plastic to cover raw, arthritic bone ends. It replaces cartilage that has worn away over time. Hip replacement surgery can help relieve pain and get you back to enjoying normal, everyday life.

Who should have a hip replacement?
Hip replacement surgery may be considered when arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking and bending, when pain continues while resting or stiffness in the hip limits the ability to move or lift your leg.

Is there an alternative to hip replacement?
Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of individual joint problems. Surgery may benefit those that have little pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, have harmful or unpleasant side effects from hip medications or other treatments, such as physical therapy, do not relieve hip pain.

Should the hip replacement be cemented?
Hip replacements may be successfully performed with all cemented components, as well as with a combination of uncemented and cemented components, as determined by the surgeon.

How long is the hospital stay?
Most hip replacement patients begin standing and walking, with the help of a walking support and a physical therapist, the day after surgery. It is important to begin moving after surgery to re-establish blood flow. This helps to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs, which can occur from a lack of activity. With the structured program in the Saint Alphonsus Joint Care Center, most patients with hip replacements are ready to go home or to an out-patient rehabilitation center in three days.

How long is recuperation?
Recovery varies with each person and is a gradual process. Patients can usually resume light activities of daily living within three to six weeks and complete recovery in about three to six months.

Are there complications?
As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications after hip replacement surgery. However, they are relatively rare. Blood clots are the most common complication after surgery. Every measure is taken to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs, including special support hose, inflatable leg coverings and blood thinners.

What about pain?
Thanks to advances in medication technology and the in-patient pain team at Saint Alphonsus, we are able to keep you relatively comfortable after surgery.

More Information
For more information on hip replacement surgery at Saint Alphonsus, please call 877-401-DOCS (3627).