Hip Replacement Summary

THR or total hip replacement is a common surgical procedure. The procedure rebuilds a deteriorated or damaged hip joint to make it more functional. During the procedure the damaged joint is replaced with an artificial prosthesis.

Signs that a hip replacement may benefit you:

  • Significant areas of dead bone otherwise known as avascular necrosisHip pain is limiting your daily activities including walking and bending.
  • Hip pain persists when you are resting during the day or night.
  • Stiffness in the hip has reduced your ability to move or lift your leg.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs or glucosamine sulfate do not provide relief.
  • Hip medications are causing harmful or unpleasant side effects.
  • Treatments like physical therapy or using a cane do not relieve your pain.

Length of the procedure: 1 to 3 hours

Hospital Stay: 4 to 10 days

Recovery before traveling home: When seeking a total hip replacement via medical tourism you can expect to travel in 7 to 10 days.

Procedure Details

When you arrive for your procedure you will be prepped for surgery and administered anesthesia. During the procedure your surgeon will remove diseased cartilage and bone first. They will also remove the ball and socket of the hip.

The ball and socket of the hip is then replaced with a metal ball and stem that is positioned inside the femur. Cement is used to attach this prosthesis to the femur. In some cases the prosthesis is placed without cement. This prosthesis has microscopic pores that connect to the femur bone over time.

After the Procedure

When the procedure is complete you will be in recovery for about 2 hours. You will be bandaged for about 24-48 hours. IV antibiotics will be administered to prevent infection, along with pain medication to ensure your comfort level. Blood thinners will be given to prevent clot formation.

Dislocation is common after total hip replacement. Certain measures will be taken to prevent this for the first 6 to 8 weeks after the procedure. These Measures include:

  • placing one pillows between your legs
  • avoiding crossing your legs
  • not bending forward 90 degrees
  • using a higher toilet seat
  • not letting your knees and/or toes turn in
You will start physical therapy shortly after your procedure and continue with it for several weeks. Exercise will be prescribed for you to do independently and with a physical therapist. You will also use crutches or a walker for several weeks.

Your physical therapy regimen should include:

  • Returning to sitting, standing, and walking up and down stairs
  • Exercises several times a day that are designed to restore movement
  • Exercises several times a day that are designed to strengthen your hip joint
  • A graduated walking program that begins in your home and moves outside
  • A walking program that slowly and steadily increases your mobility and endurance
  • Returning to other normal household activities


Most patients resume normal activities about three months after their procedure. Total hip replacement can help reduce pain, increase mobility and get you back to enjoying normal activities. The longevity of prosthetic hips varies, but can range from 10 to 25 years.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgery, there are certain risks and complications associated with total hip replacement including:

  • Blood Clots
  • Infection
  • Dislocation
  • Extra Bone Formation
  • Femur Fracture
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Shortening of the Leg
  • Arterial Injury
  • Bleeding
  • Allergy to Prothesis
  • Allergy to Anesthesia
  • Fat Embolism

It is important to discuss any concerns you have about the risks and complications with your surgeon before and after your total hip replacement.

Contact your physician if:
  • You develop a persistent fever (higher than 100°F orally)
  • Have excessive shaking chills
  • You notice increasing redness, tenderness, or swelling of the hip wound
  • Drainage from the hip wound occurs
  • You have increasing hip pain with both activity and rest
  • Pain in your calf and leg develops that is unrelated to your incision
  • Tenderness or redness of your calf begins
  • Your thigh, calf, ankle, or foot begin to swell
  • Shortness of breath occurs
  • Chest pain develops, especially with breathing