Total Hip Replacement

A hip replacement procedure involves an operation in which the cup-shaped hip socket, or acetabulum, and head and neck of the thigh bone, or femur, are replaced with prosthetic components. The bones of the hip joint experience wear over time, or become damaged from arthritis, fracture, or other conditions such as bone death due to loss of blood supply. When the cartilage covering the bone surfaces is damaged, the underlying bone becomes irritated and develops spurs and other irregularities, which can cause pain and loss of motion.


Your anesthesiologist will determine whether to use regional or general anesthesia. First, the head and neck of the femur are removed in order to provide access to the acetabulum. Next, the damaged cartilage of the acetabulum is removed, and a metal socket is attached via screws or cement. A spacer (made of plastic, ceramic, or metal) is inserted between the prosthetic ball and socket to allow for smooth, gliding motion. The bone of the femur then is hollowed out and the implant stem is cemented or ‘press fit’ into the bone. Finally, a metal or ceramic ball is used to replace the femoral head.


While complications associated with hip replacement surgery are generally uncommon, they include infection of the wound or around the prosthesis, and blood clots. In rare cases, the leg may be slightly lengthened or shortened in order to maximize stability. Dislocation, loosening of the joint, or implant wear may occur over the years. You will be advised on which precautions to take to minimize the possibility of a dislocation

Recovery & Results

A total hip replacement is a major surgery that requires an overnight stay and lengthy recovery period. Recovery from hip replacement surgery typically takes several weeks. Sutures are removed approximately 10 days after surgery. Exercise is critical to your recovery; a progressive walking program may be advised to increase your mobility. In addition, a physical therapist may help you to restore movement and strength. Within 3 to 6 weeks, you should be able to resume normal household activities. While your new hip might feel a little strange at first, this will diminish with time, and most patients experience almost complete relief from pain.

Make an Appointment with Dr. DiPaolo to Discuss Total Hip Replacement

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