If you’re at the point of needing joint surgery to resolve your hip pain, you might be researching the pros and cons of hip replacement surgery to help make your decision.

In this blog article, you’ll hear from IBJI’s own Dr. Sean Sutphen, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in adult hip and knee reconstruction and total joint replacement.

Dr. Sutphen reviews and explains the pros and cons of hip replacement to help patients make a more informed decision. His responses—below—have been edited and condensed for space.

The Pros and Cons of Hip Replacement

We sat down with Dr. Sutphen to have him break down each of the pros and cons of hip replacement surgery. He shared three pros and three cons for patients to consider.

Three Pros of Hip Replacement

1. Very High Overall Success Rate

Dr. Sutphen: Total hip replacement is regarded as one of the most successful surgeries in medicine today. The success rate for this surgery is excellent, with greater than 95% of patients experiencing hip pain relief. The success rate of hip replacements after ten years from surgery is 90-95%, and 80-85% after 20 years.

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2. Improvement in Hip Function

Dr. Sutphen: After total hip replacement surgery, you will have the ability to walk and take part in activities without limitation. Activities that have been limited before surgery—such as putting on shoes and socks, getting up from a chair, and going up and down staircases—are much easier.

3. Pain Relief

Dr. Sutphen: This is the main benefit the procedure offers and the main reason for surgery. A total hip replacement can significantly reduce pain, with most patients getting complete relief from their hip pain secondary to arthritis.

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Three Cons of Hip Replacement

Although total hip replacement is deemed a very safe procedure, there are associated risks that patients need to be made aware of before surgery.

1. Possible Infections

Dr. Sutphen: A minimal number of surgery patients (roughly around 1%) can develop an infection around their hip replacement. This can be one of the most hindering complications associated with total hip replacements, as it can require additional surgeries and prolonged antibiotics to treat the infection.

2. Potential for Change in Leg Length

Dr. Sutphen: Leg length discrepancy after hip replacement can occur, meaning one leg feels longer or shorter than the other. While your surgeon attempts to make the leg lengths equal, minor differences may occur due to trying to increase the stability of the hip.

3. Possible Mechanical Complications

Dr. Sutphen: Dislocation can occur as the ball of the hip becomes displaced from the hip socket. This can occur in less than 2% of patients after surgery. In addition, over time, the hip replacement components can begin to wear or loosen. This is a long-term complication of total hip replacement.

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Hip Care and Treatment at IBJI

Patients considering a hip replacement should further discuss any questions or concerns about the pros and cons of hip replacement with an experienced joint specialist. IBJI’s hip surgeons always welcome questions when it comes to your care.

Schedule online to discuss treatment options to help you move better and live better. We’ll help you create an individualized approach to relieve your hip pain.

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Last updated in April 2022.

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