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Hip Replacement

At UVA, we’re ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. We’ve also received the highest possible performance rating for all nine common conditions and procedures reviewed, including hip replacement. 

A total hip replacement is a surgery that uses an artificial ball-and-socket joint to replace a diseased or injured hip joint. It can be done through open surgery or a minimally invasive technique. You may need a hip replacement when pain and stiffness limit your normal activities and rest, medication and physical therapy are no longer working.

Other reasons for surgery may include:

  • A broken hip
  • Severe rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bone tumors
  • Loss of blood supply to the bones of the hip

Would a Hip Replacement Help You?

Listen to a podcast: Find out when to consider a hip replacement.

Description of Procedure   

Your doctor makes an incision along your joint and moves the muscles aside. Your doctor then removes the damaged bone and cartilage of the hip joint and positions the new artificial joint. Depending on the type of prosthesis, your doctor may use bone cement to hold the artificial hip firmly to your bone. This procedure is done in a hospital setting and takes about an hour to complete. 

The usual length of stay is:

  • 4-6 days for a total hip replacement
  • 1-2 days for minimally invasive total hip replacement

Post-procedure Care    

At the Hospital

While you're recovering at the hospital, you may need to:

  • Walk with help, using a walker, the day after surgery
  • Take medication to prevent blood clots
  • Wear compression boots or stockings
  • Begin physical therapy to regain mobility and strength
  • Breathe deeply and cough 10-20 times every hour to decrease the risk of fluid build-up in the lungs

At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Work with the physical therapist to learn how to move your hip and maintain proper alignment. Depending on your surgery, you may need to avoid crossing your legs, flexing your hips more than 90 degrees and turning your feet very far inward or outward.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase wear on your new joint.
  • Avoid jogging and other high-impact sports. This can also increase wear on the joint, cause it to loosen and cause pain.

You may need antibiotics before certain dental procedures or surgeries to prevent possible infections from entering the bloodstream. Make sure to let your dentist or doctor know that you have an artificial joint.

You should be able to resume normal, light activities within 6 weeks. A replacement hip typically lasts 10-15 years.

Possible Complications

Possible complications may include:

  • Hip dislocation
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Swelling or bleeding
  • Injury to nearby nerves or blood vessels
  • Anesthesia-related problems, like pneumonia
  • Noisy or squeaky hip after surgery

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing medical condition, such as heart or lung problems
  • Obesity
  • Infection, such as urinary tract infection or gum disease 
  • Previous problems with blood clots
  • Smoking


Call us at 434.243.3675.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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