Adam C. Young, MD
Alan C. League, MD
Albert Knuth, MD
Alejandra Rodriguez-Paez, MD
Alexander E. Michalow, MD
Alexander Gordon, MD
Alfonso Bello, MD
Ami Kothari, MD
Amy Jo Ptaszek, MD
Anand Vora, MD
Andrea S. Kramer, MD
Andrew J. Riff, MD
Angela R. Crowley, MD
Angelo Savino, MD
Anthony Savino, MD
Anuj S. Puppala, MD
Ari Kaz, MD
Ashraf H. Darwish, MD
Ashraf Hasan, MD
Bernard J. Feldman, MD
Bradley Dworsky, MD
Brian Clay, MD
Brian J. Burgess, DPM
Brian R. McCall, MD
Brian Schwartz, MD
Brian Weatherford, MD
Brooke Vanderby, MD
Bruce E. Noxon, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA
Bruce Summerville, MD
Bryan Waxman, MD
Bryant S. Ho, MD
Carey E. Ellis, MD
Carla Gamez, DPM
Cary R. Templin, MD
Charles L. Lettvin, MD
Charles M. Lieder, DO
Chinyoung Park, MD
Christ Pavlatos, MD
Christian Skjong, MD
Christopher C. Mahr, MD
Craig Cummins, MD
Craig Phillips, MD
Craig S. Williams, MD
Craig Westin, MD
David Beigler, MD
David Guelich, MD
David H. Garelick, MD
David Hamming, MD
David Hoffman, MD
David M. Anderson, MD
David Norbeck, MD
David Raab, MD
David Schneider, DO
Djuro Petkovic, MD
Douglas Diekevers, DPM
Douglas Solway, DPM
E. Quinn Regan, MD
Eddie Jones Jr., MD
Edward J. Logue, MD
Elliot A. Nacke, MD
Ellis K. Nam, MD
Eric Chehab, MD
Eric L. Lee, MD
Evan A. Dougherty, MD
Garo Emerzian, DPM
Gary Shapiro, MD
Giridhar Burra, MD
Gregory Brebach, MD
Gregory J. Fahrenbach, MD
Gregory Portland, MD
Harpreet S. Basran, MD
Inbar Kirson, MD, FACOG, Diplomate ABOM
Jalaal Shah, DO
James M. Hill, MD
James R. Bresch, MD
Jason G. Hurbanek, MD
Jason Ghodasra, MD
Jason J. Shrouder-Henry, MD
Jeffrey Ackerman, MD
Jeffrey Goldstein, MD
Jeffrey Staron, MD
Jeffrey Visotsky, MD
Jeremy Oryhon, MD
John H. Lyon, MD
Jonathan Erulkar, MD
Jordan L. Goldstein, MD
Josephine H. Mo, MD
Juan Santiago-Palma, MD
Justin Gent, MD
Justin M. LaReau, MD
Kellie Gates, MD
Kermit Muhammad, MD
Kevin Chen, MD
Kris Alden MD, PhD
Leah R. Urbanosky, MD
Leigh-Anne Tu, MD
Leon Benson, MD
Lori Siegel, MD
Lynn Gettleman Chehab, MD, MPH, Diplomate ABOM
Marc Angerame, MD
Marc Breslow, MD
Marc R. Fajardo, MD
Marie Kirincic, MD
Mark A. Lorenz, MD
Mark Gonzalez, MD
Mark Gross, MD
Mark Hamming, MD
Mark Mikhael, MD
Matthew L. Jimenez, MD
Mehul H. Garala, MD
Michael C. Durkin, MD
Michael Chiu, MD, FAAOS
Michael J. Corcoran, MD
Michael O'Rourke, MD
Nathan G. Wetters, MD
Nikhil K. Chokshi, MD
Paul L. Goodman, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA
Peter Hoepfner, MD
Peter Thadani, MD
Phillip Ludkowski, MD
Priyesh Patel, MD
Rajeev D. Puri, MD
Rhutav Parikh, MD
Richard J. Hayek, MD
Richard Noren, MD
Richard Sherman, MD
Ritesh Shah, MD
Robert J. Daley, MD
Robert J. Thorsness, MD
Roger Chams, MD
Ronak M. Patel, MD
Scott Jacobsen, DPM
Sean A. Sutphen, DO
Serafin DeLeon, MD
Shivani Batra, DO
Stanford Tack, MD
Steven C. Chudik, MD
Steven G. Bardfield, MD
Steven Gross, MD
Steven Jasonowicz, DPM
Steven M. Mardjetko, MD
Steven S. Louis, MD
Steven W. Miller, DPM
Surbhi Panchal, MD
T. Andrew Ehmke, DO
Taizoon Baxamusa, MD
Teresa Sosenko, MD
Theodore Fisher, MD
Thomas Gleason, MD
Timothy J. Friedrich, DPM
Todd R. Rimington, MD
Todd Simmons, MD
Tom Antkowiak, MD, MS
Tomas Nemickas, MD
Van Stamos, MD
Wayne M. Goldstein, MD
Wesley E. Choy, MD
William Robb, MD
William Vitello, MD

Hip Surgery Risks and Potential Complications

This article is part of the the Ultimate Guide to Hip Pain Relief.

Many patients that experience hip pain may at one point need to consider surgery. Researching and having an open conversation with your doctor can help to answer your questions and learn more about the surgery. One area that should be addressed is the surgery risks and potential complications.

IBJI recently chatted with Dr. Peter Thadani, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with fellowship training in adult hip and knee reconstruction and total joint replacement. Dr. Thadani educates patients on hip surgery risks and potential complications for total hip replacement. His responses—below—have been edited and condensed for space

Total hip replacement surgery has been called “the operation of the century” 1 due to its success in relieving pain and improving function in patients with debilitating hip arthritis. Dr. Thadani says that, “More than 90% of patients who undergo hip replacement achieve significant pain relief. However, it is a major surgery, and there are certain risks and complications that can occur during or after the procedure.”

Learn more about Outpatient Joint Replacement

Potential Complications

With all surgeries there is a risk of complications. It’s important to discuss these with your doctor before going into surgery. The complications for total hip replacement can be classified as general or procedure specific.

General Complications

Some general complications patients should be aware of include urinary complications (urinary tract infection or urinary retention after surgery), as well as cardiovascular complications (heart attack or stroke). 

“With thorough preoperative health optimization and preparation, including management by one’s primary care physician, the risk of serious or catastrophic complications is extremely low,” says Dr. Thadani.

Procedure Specific Complications

For total hip replacement, there are a few short term procedure specific complications to be aware of. After surgery a blood clot can develop in the leg, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). There is a possibility that the clot could travel to the heart and then into the lungs, forming a pulmonary embolus (PE).

Dr. Thadani says, “Most DVT’s and PE’s do not pose a serious threat to one’s health; it is much less common that they result in catastrophic respiratory failure or fatal cardiac arrest.  Fortunately, the rate of developing a PE is less than 0.25% with use of blood thinners after surgery2.”

Another procedure specific complication is infection. An infection can develop in the hip after surgery and can potentially be quite serious. “If an infection develops it can require multiple additional surgical procedures in addition to intravenous antibiotics,” says Dr. Thadani, “Although infections are uncommon (0.3-1.5%3), they can cause significant disability and pain that can occasionally be permanent.

“For this reason, the surgical team takes every precaution possible to prevent infections at the surgical site. It is important as a patient to understand that certain health factors such as obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, and tobacco use are risk factors for infection and that improvement of these health issues can significantly lower the risk.”

Learn about hip surgery risks and complications.
Learn about hip surgery risks and complications from IBJI. “Image by: CGN089/Shutterstock.com

Advancements to Reduce Risk and Complications

Dr. Thadani says that, “Advances in implant technology and materials, as well as modern surgical techniques, have reduced the risk for complications such as dislocation of the hip ball out of the socket after surgery or a noticeable discrepancy in the lengths of the two legs after surgery. Advances have also been made in perioperative patient care, including blood conservation strategies that make the risk for a blood transfusion after hip replacement extremely low and have virtually eliminated the need to donate and store blood prior to surgery.”

“Additional complications related to technical factors of the surgery include potential fracture of the femur (upper thigh bone) and nerve injury,” adds Dr. Thadani, “The incidence of a femur fracture is approximately 0.5-1.5%4 and is related to patient age, gender, bone quality, and the surgeon’s choice of implant and surgical technique. Nerve injuries can occur up to 1.9% of the time5, but the majority of these are minor nerve stretches or bruises that usually recover; the risk for permanent nerve damage is much lower.”

Hip Replacements Overtime

Overall, total hip replacement devices are very durable and typically provide pain free service for many years. “Although 93-95% of patients report significant pain relief, a small percentage of patients may continue to experience chronic hip pain even after the surgery. A couple of additional long term procedure specific complications should be noted as well. Over time, the prosthetic materials can wear out or the prosthesis may loosen from the bone, causing pain that may require a second operation. However, nearly 80% of hip replacement implants will last for at least 25 years6.”

While millions of patients worldwide have enjoyed the success associated with total hip replacement, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and complications that can occur during or after surgery in order to make a decision as to whether surgery is the right choice for you.

Get Relief from Your Hip Pain Today

Hip Care and Treatment at IBJI

Whether you are just starting out in your hip care journey or need a second opinion for your hip pain, IBJI’s hip surgeons are here to help provide you with the necessary care for your ailment. Get the relief you are seeking with the help of IBJI.

Request an appointment with an IBJI hip surgeon to discuss treatment options and create an individualized approach to your care.

Check out IBJI’s additional online resources for hip care to learn more about conditions and read patient testimonials.

Request an Appointment with a Hip Doctor →

*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.


Download the Ultimate Guide to Hip Pain Relief

Sources

  • 1 Learmonth ID et al, The Lancet, 2007
  • 2 Lieberman JR et al, Journal of Arthroplasty, 2017
  • 3 Blom AW et al, Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, British Volume, 2003
  • 4 Fleishman AM et al, Journal Arthroplasty, 2019
  • 5 Brown GD et al, American Journal of Orthopedics, 2008
  • 6 Evans JT, The Lancet, 2019

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