Hip replacement surgery treatment explained

For private treatment enquiries call 0333 321 1961

What is hip replacement surgery UK?

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures in the UK. The surgeon replaces a painful arthritic hip with an artificial joint.

How does a hip replacement work?

As with other joint replacement surgery, an artificial hip takes the place of the hip joint. Removing the worn out joint and replacing it with a new hip results in a better quality of life.

Types of hip replacement

The type of surgery you have will depend upon your individual needs. Your specialist will advise the best course of action for you.

Total hip replacement

This is the most common operation which involves removal of the hip joint. Total hip replacement can sometimes be referred to as hip arthroplasty. In this operation the painful or worn out joint is replaced with an artificial joint (implant). In this type of surgery the whole joint is replaced, giving a new femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (socket).

Partial hip replacement

Partial hip replacement is an option if only part of the hip joint is damaged. In this procedure, the femoral head (ball) is replaced. A common reason for this can be a fracture, where the socket remains intact but the ball needs to be replaced. It is not used for treating hip osteoarthritis.

Hip resurfacing

This is a less common type of surgery and is an alternative to hip replacement. It involves removing the damaged surfaces of the bones inside the hip joint with metal.

Urgent hip replacement

Sometimes a hip joint needs to be replaced urgently. This can happen following a fall when the joint is fractured. As mentioned above, sometimes this will result in a partial hip replacement where only the ball joint is replaced. There may be other urgent medical reasons for a hip replacement. A consultant will be able to determine how quickly you need surgery and this will help determine how long you have to wait.

Hip revision surgery

Hip revision surgery is sometimes needed in patients who have had a previous hip replacement. During a hip revision, either one or both parts of the hip joint are replaced. This procedure is done following a number of reasons where the implant is failing. This can be due to infection, loosening or fracture. Your consultant will help you weigh the benefits of surgery and make a choice as to the best approach for your individual needs.

Minimally invasive hip surgery

This approach sees the surgeon make one or more shorter incisions over the hip. The aim of this procedure is to reduce pain and speed up recovery time. The operation may not be suitable for all patients.

Which method of hip replacement is the best?

The type of hip surgery needed and the approach will depend very much on individual needs and medical advice. A thorough consultation and follow up investigations will help inform your choice. This will help you make the right decision about your future care.

What are the signs that I need a hip replacement?

Symptoms and signs of needing a hip replacement include:

  • Persistent or recurring pain in and around the hip joint
  • Activity-related pain and limited range of motion, managing stairs and getting in and out of chairs
  • Disturbance of sleep due to pain
  • Increasing pain due to a previous injury such as a hip fracture.

When should I seek treatment for my hip?

A hip replacement operation is recommended for patients whose hip pain restricts everyday activities. These include walking, driving and getting dressed. Some common reasons why a hip might become damaged are:

  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • previous injury to the hip or hip bone.

When is a hip replacement urgent?

A hip replacement is urgent following a fall or accident where the hip joint is fractured, or there is rapid deterioration in the patient’s arthritis.

When is it too late to get a hip replacement?

Although people have hip replacements well into their 90s, due to their medical history, they may not be fit for major surgery. Your doctor will be able to advise as the best course of action.

What happens during hip replacement surgery?

The operation can be carried out under general or spinal anaesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision on the side of your hip, remove the damaged hip joint and replace it with an artificial joint.

How long does hip replacement surgery take?

The procedure usually takes between one and two hours.

Is hip replacement major surgery?

A hip replacement operation is major surgery and is required when conservative treatment no longer work.

How long will I be in hospital?

We practise the Enhanced Recovery Pathway (ERP). This is a modern, evidence-based approach that helps people speed up their recovery following major surgery. With this support you will be mobile enough to go home one or two days after your operation, some people are able to return home on the day of surgery.

How painful is a hip replacement?

A hip replacement is needed when hip pain interferes with daily activities. As such, after initial recovery you should find you are able to resume your normal activities and sports without pain. Immediately post surgery there will be pain that is managed with oral analgesia. You will work with your physio to make sure you are up and about quickly. Getting mobile early and doing your physiotherapy exercises will help you recover quickly. This will also minimise post-operative pain.

What are the results of hip replacement surgery?

A new hip joint can relieve pain, improve function, increase mobility and contribute to a better quality of life. A hip replacement can last for 10 to 15 years, at which point revision surgery can be offered.

What are the risks and complications of hip replacement surgery?

All surgical procedures have risks. However, the chances of serious complications following hip replacements are very low – less than one per cent. Complications can include:

  • Dislocation
  • Infection
  • Injury to the blood vessels or nerves
  • Fracture
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Difference in leg length.

Steps during and after surgery are taken to decrease these risks.

How long will my new hip last?

A modern artificial hip will last for 10 to 15 years on average. However, occasionally a few will need revision surgery before or after this time.

Are there alternatives to a hip replacement?

Before hip replacement surgery, patients should try conservative pain management. This could include making lifestyle adjustments, weight loss, taking regular painkillers, walking with a stick, and physiotherapy. This can help manage the symptoms of pain and stiffness by reducing the stress on the joint through weight loss, or by moderating activity. Physio exercises will help strengthen the muscles around the joint. This lessens the discomfort experienced and helps with mobility.

An injection in the hip is an option that is occasionally used.

What happens at the pre-operative assessment for hip replacement?

A pre-operative assessment is our opportunity to ensure that the procedure for which you have been referred is right for you. We’ll explain your treatment and make sure that you are medically fit enough to proceed. It is also your opportunity to meet the team who will care for you and to ask any questions.

What is the age criteria for having a hip replacement?

There isn’t an age criteria for patients needing hip replacement surgery. Most patients present for hip replacement between the ages of 60 and 80.

Preparing for hip replacement surgery

If possible, continue to do gentle exercise in the run-up to your surgery. Walking and swimming will help to strengthen the muscles around the hip, helping to speed up the recovery process.

Making travel arrangements, packing the things you’ll need and informing family members will ensure any last minute hiccups on the day are avoided.

Recovering from hip replacement surgery

Once the operation is over, our physiotherapists will begin working closely with you. This happens within hours of joint replacement surgery, and often means you’ll be able to return home early. It can also reduce the risk of early complications after surgery.

By following your physiotherapy plan, you can expect to resume regular activities within two to three months. The time it takes to fully benefit from your new hip will depend on how closely you follow your recovery plan. The average expected time can be up to a year, but it’s up to you to ensure that the muscles around the hip are strong and the hip returns to a good range of motion.

You can find out more about returning to normal activities including gardening after a hip or knee replacement in our blog.

Hip exercises

Waiting times for urgent hip replacement

At Practice Plus, if you are paying for yourself, the average time from booking enquiry to having your surgery is 11 weeks.

If you’re planning on having your operation through the NHS, the waiting list for hip replacement tends to be significantly longer. So, if you are looking for an urgent hip replacement, self-pay healthcare may be an option you want to consider.

How to minimise pain while waiting for a hip replacement

Lifestyle adjustments such as weight loss, taking regular painkillers, walking with a stick and physiotherapy can all help. Physio exercises will also strengthen the muscles around the joint. This lessens the discomfort experienced and helps with mobility.

Self-pay hip replacement costs

Hip surgery cost varies according to the type of procedure. Total hip replacement at Practice Plus Group costs £10,720.

Hip replacement surgery prices and locations

Ways to pay

There are 3 ways to access hip replacement at Practice Plus Group:

  1. Pay for yourself
  2. Private health insurance
  3. NHS referral

Why choose Practice Plus Group?

At Practice Plus Group Hospitals we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.

Ways to pay


Thumbs-up icon

treatments carried out a month


Star icon

or 'good' ratings by CQC



clean record for hospital acquired infections


Thumbs-up icon

of patients recommend Practice Plus Group

Get in touch