What is hip revision surgery?
Hip revision is a surgical procedure designed to revise any component of an artificial hip replacement. It is usually performed to improve symptoms commonly experienced following the failure of a prosthetic joint. These symptoms include infection, fracture and joint dislocation. Hip revision surgeries help to correct the problem so the hip can function normally again.
What is the difference between a hip replacement and a hip revision?
The difference between hip replacement and hip revision is simple. Hip replacement is where a ‘native’ hip is replaced with an artificial ‘cup and head’. Hip revision surgery is when component(s) of the same artificial joint need replacing with new ones. Depending on the severity of the damage and the patient’s age, more than one hip revision surgery may be required.
Hip revisions are generally only undertaken when there is a clear structural problem leading to infection, fracture or joint dislocation.
Why do hip replacements sometimes fail?
Some of the common reasons hip replacements fail are:
- Instability and dislocation
How do you know when you need a hip revision?
The symptoms of needing hip revision surgery are different to the signs you need a hip replacement. We explore the different symptoms below.
Hip replacement revision symptoms
It’s difficult to know when you need a hip revision, but when a hip replacement fails, it’s likely you’ll experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dislocation – This can occur following a sudden-impact accident or if the original implant was the wrong size.
- Infection – This is the most serious complication of hip replacement. Symptoms include pain, instability and swelling of the joint. Patients with infected hip implants often require surgery.
- Instability or loosening of the joint – This occurs when the bone fails to grow around the original hip implant. Patients with this issue are likely to experience hip pain, swelling of the joint, and partial or full dislocation of the joint.
- Fracture – During a hip replacement, the implant is attached to the bones. When one of these fractures, this may cause the artificial implant to loosen.
The benefits of hip revision surgery
The benefits enjoyed by the patient depend on the reason for the operation. Different driving factors for hip revision surgery will address different underlying problems. With that said though, the main goal is to alleviate pain. Hip revision surgery can:
- significantly improve pain in cases of loosening of the artificial hip joint
- overcome infection in cases of infection
- improve stability in cases of repeated dislocation.
As with patients needing a hip replacement, hip revision surgery is performed to improve pain and joint function through addressing the underlying issue. It can also mean patients enjoy increased strength in the joint along with an improvement in balance.
Don’t just take our word for it though, have a look at what our patients have to say:
“Every member of your team that I met on the day of my procedure was hugely welcoming and friendly. I can not understate how much that put me at ease.”
Peter Carey, Hip revision patient
Possible hip revision complications
While hip revision is considered a safe procedure, as with any surgery, there are both benefits and risks of hip surgery. Infections, nerve damage, fracture, and instability of the joint are all complications that can arise. For some patients, there is also the possibility of needing more than one surgery to solve their hip problem.
Hip revision surgery success rates
According to The Lancet medical publication, between 2003 and 2019, 21% of all hip replacements were revised within 15 years.1 The findings state younger hip replacement patients are more likely to require follow-up revision surgeries.
It should be remembered that the success rate also depends on the patient. If you follow your rehabilitation plan, you’re much more likely to make a complete recovery.
How to prepare for hip revision surgery
You should always follow the advice of your orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist. They will let you know if you need to observe any specific precautions. If you have been advised to follow hip precautions you may need additional aids like a raised toilet seat, bed raise or chair raise.
There are also preparations you can make before you come into the hospital for surgery:
- Consider the space you have around your home. You may need to move furniture to make enough space to get through doorways and passages with a mobility aid
- Remove any loose rugs and secure carpets in the home to prevent the risk of falls.
- Stock up on easy to prepare meals. If you have a freezer, have a selection of ready prepared meals that you can heat in either a microwave or an oven
- Arrange your kitchen so that the most commonly used items are all at worktop level or higher, so that you do not have to bend or twist to reach items
- If you do not usually eat in the kitchen, consider having a stool or seat in the kitchen. You may be discharged with walking aids which will have an influence on your ability to carry items when walking. An appropriately placed seat is also good for resting between tasks.
- If your chair at home is very low you may have a higher one you can borrow from family or friends, which will make getting out of your chair easier.
- Arrange for family or friends to help you with heavier household tasks, like hoovering or changing bed clothes.
- Cut your toenails, as you will not be able to reach them for approximately six weeks after surgery. Be careful not to cut the skin. If this happens then the surgery would need to be delayed until the wound has healed. This is to prevent any infection hindering your recovery process after the surgery
- Place clothes and toiletries in drawers and on shelves around waist height to avoid bending or twisting for these items.
- Think about who can collect you following your stay in hospital. It should be safe for you to travel home as a passenger in a car.
Alternatives to hip revision surgery
While consultants may recommend hip revision surgery (or different types of hip surgery), the final decision is the patient’s. Consultants will provide a full explanation of the benefits, risks and alternatives to the surgery before a decision is made. If the patient is thinking of opting out of surgery, there are a few alternatives. These include:
- medication and long-term antibiotics if the issue has been caused by infection
- physiotherapy to help strengthen muscles around the affected area
- weight loss can also help alleviate stress on the joint.
The patient can also simply choose to leave the hip in its current state. This means accepting the ongoing symptoms and potential risks.
Hip revision surgery: NHS v private
According to a report from the Royal College of Surgeons in England, the number of patients on the NHS waiting list reached six million in 2022. Of these, over 18,500 had been waiting for more than two years for their surgery. Patients facing the longest waiting times are for Trauma and Orthopaedic treatment. This includes hip and knee joint replacements2.
In contrast, the average waiting time for private patients is between four and six weeks.
NHS revision hip replacement
For NHS England, the statutory aim is for patients to receive hip revision surgery within 18 weeks of their consultation. However, the fallout from the COVID pandemic has seen waiting times dramatically grow. For orthopaedic procedures such as hip revision, the average waiting time for NHS treatment in the UK is currently 35 weeks. This figure increases, with some Hospital Trusts reaching 55 or even 85 weeks before patients have their procedure3.
Private hip revision surgery
Private health sectors pride themselves on the speed with which they can get patients the treatment they need. The current average waiting time in the UK for private hospitals is between four and six weeks. This can and does vary depending on the provider and location of the patient.
At Practice Plus, the current waiting list for hip replacement from booking enquiry to surgery is between two and four weeks.
Hip revision surgery costs
Hip revision surgery at Practice Plus Group costs £18,355. This is compared to hip replacement surgery which costs up to £10,815.
Hip revision recovery timeline
The recovery timeline will depend on the type of surgery that was carried out. Some patients will be able to bear weight on the affected hip the day after surgery. However, others could take six weeks before they can put weight on it. This will depend on the type of surgical technique used to remove and revise the implant. For most patients, it generally takes a year to fully recover following surgery. Exact recovery time frames are difficult to pinpoint and will depend on factors such as:
- the severity of the damage to your implant
- the type of surgery needed
- whether you’re overweight or not
- following the physiotherapy plan provided by your consultant
- how much bone is lost while conducting revision surgery.
Exercises to do after hip revision surgery
Physio exercises typically begin around four weeks after your surgery. Recovery timelines will vary from patient-to-patient, and you may take longer to recover than others. Your surgeon will be able to advise on when to start your recovery.
Hip revision surgery specialists near me
Find locations and prices…
Our Hip treatment page offers more information on how to enquire about hip revision surgery.
Ways to pay
There are 3 ways to access hip revision treatment at Practice Plus Group:
- Pay for yourself
- Private health insurance
- 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.