Open Accessibility Menu

FAQ About Hip Replacements

  • Category: Hip
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Nader Nassif, M.D.
FAQ About Hip Replacements

If you’re looking into getting a hip replacement but have questions, check out this blog by HOI’s Division Chief of Joint Replacement, Dr. Nader Nassif, where he talks about what hip function is like post-surgery, how long a new hip should last, and how hospitals measure patient satisfaction.

Q: What are your complication rates?

A: Complications following joint replacement surgery can include both surgical and medical complications. Surgical Complications include dislocations, fractures, or infections of the new joint. Medical complications include deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal irritation from the blood thinners used.

Rates of complications following total hip replacement and knee replacements are around 5% based on a US National Database. This rate can vary greatly between hospitals, high volume hospitals like Hoag Orthopedic Institute have lower complication rates due to established protocols that optimize patient outcome and minimizes medical complications, infections or return to the ER.

Q: What is hip function like for most of your patients six months after surgery?

A: Prior to surgery, patients usually have difficulty with walking, climbing stairs, putting on shoes and socks and engaging in any meaningful recreational activity. By six months following surgeries, the large majority of patients are pain free, are walking without limitation, and have returned to reactional activity such as golfing, cycling, walking, and hiking. Many patients are able to achieve these goals within 6-12 weeks of surgery. The younger and more conditioned you are in preparation for surgery, the faster the recovery will be.

Q: How do you measure patient satisfaction?

A: Standardized surveys are usually sent to patients after discharge from the hospital. HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) asks standard questions of how the patient's experience was. These surveys allow for comparisons between hospitals regarding the hospital environment, overall care and communications from nursing and physicians. Individual surgeons will also survey their patients about how well they are doing. Oftentimes, "Patient reported Outcomes" (standardized validated questionnaires) are asked of the patient before and after to objectively assess their improvement and overall outcomes compared to their preoperative state, as well as to others who have had a similar procedure.

Q: Which surgical approach do you specialize in?

A: There are several different approaches to a hip replacement surgery. The anterior, posterior, anterolateral are the three most common ones. I utilize the anterior hip replacement approach (the incision is made along the anterolateral aspect of the hip). Studies have shown an early advantage with regards to less post-operative pain due to less muscle trauma and faster independence from assistive devices. The added advantage is that you can directly visualize the positioning of the components using live x-ray to accurately place them.

Q: How long should I expect my new hip to last?

A: With current technologies, hip replacements can last 15-20 years and potentially longer.