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Hip Replacement

Hip Replacement Surgery

Arthritis or traumatic injury to the hip can cause pain, deformity and stiffness that can severely limit daily activities. Hip replacement surgery can alleviate that pain and restore the normal alignment of the hip, allowing you to move easily.

Your hip is made up of two basic parts that move and work together to ensure smooth motion and function. When arthritis affects the joint and the cartilage that cushions the hip wears away or is destroyed, the hip joint requires replacement.

The materials used in your artificial joint are very strong and are designed to last a very long time inside your body. Your orthopedic surgeon will consider many factors, like age, bone density and the shape of your joints to determine the exact kind of hip replacement you’ll receive and how it will be inserted.

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Cause of Hip Pain

In the hip joint there is a layer of smooth cartilage on the ball of the upper end of the thighbone (femur) and another layer within your hip socket. This cartilage serves as a cushion and allows for smooth motion of the hip. Arthritis is a wearing away of this cartilage. Eventually it wears down to bone. Rubbing of bone against bone causes discomfort, swelling and stiffness.

Joint deterioration caused by osteoarthritis and other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, injury, and bone tumors may lead to breakdown of the hip joint and require the need for hip replacement surgery.

Goal of Hip Replacement

The goal of hip replacement is to relieve pain and improve function of the hip joint so that you can get back to enjoying the simplest activities like walking, driving and even standing.

What is Hip Replacement?

During hip replacement, the surgeon removes the diseased bone tissue and cartilage from the hip joint. The healthy parts of the hip are left intact. Then the surgeon replaces and resurfaces the bones in the joint with new, artificial parts, recreating the smooth gliding surfaces that were once intact.  This creates a smoothly functioning joint that does not hurt.

A total hip replacement is an operation that removes the arthritic ball of the upper thighbone (femur) as well as damaged cartilage from the hip socket. The ball is replaced with a metal ball that is fixed solidly inside the femur. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal liner that is usually fixed inside a metal shell. This creates a smoothly functioning joint that does not hurt.  

Results of Houston hip replacement will vary depending on the quality of the surrounding tissue, the severity of the arthritis at the time of surgery, the patient's activity level and the patient's adherence to the doctor's orders.

Hip Replacement Locations

Hip replacement Houston is available at a Memorial Hermann Joint Center near you. See locations.

Am I a Candidate for Hip Replacement Surgery?

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic joint pain and a loss of mobility that brings challenges to the simplest daily routines. Hip replacements are a fairly common solution and one of the most reliable treatments in any area of medicine. For the right patient, they can be a game-changer.

Based on your exam, x-rays and history, your orthopedic surgeon will decide if you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery. In addition, your orthopedic surgeon will ask you to decide if your discomfort, stiffness and disability justify a surgery. If conservative, non-operative methods are controlling your discomfort, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend waiting on the surgery.

Talk to a physician about hip replacement surgery if you can answer yes to any of these questions:

  • Are you having hip pain that keeps you awake, or awakens you at night?
  • Does persistent hip pain and disability interfere with daily activities (walking, lifting yourself up, climbing stairs, exercising, shopping, etc.)?
  • Have you tried other treatments like walking aids such as a cane, or nonsurgical therapies such as medication and physical therapy?

Hip Replacement Technology

At Memorial Hermann, patients have access to leading technologies and surgical techniques in hip replacement, including MAKOplasty® and an anterior approach to hip replacement.


MAKOplasty is performed using RIO®, the Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System. RIO provides three-dimensional modeling to help your surgeon plan your procedure, and it gives the surgeon real-time feedback during surgery to ensure accurate implant placement and alignment. 

MAKOplasty total hip replacement allows for increased precision and accuracy of surgical technique, thus decreasing the risk for post-operative complications, promoting implant longevity and improving the ability to restore appropriate leg length.

Benefits include:

  • Enhanced joint stability and mobility
  • Smaller incisions

Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement

In the anterior approach to hip replacement, the surgery is performed from the front, or anterior side of the leg, and the joint is accessed by going around muscle rather than cutting through it.

Benefits include:

  • Less trauma to surrounding muscle structure that supports the joint
  • Fewer post-surgical precautions
  • Fewer activity restrictions
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker recovery

Possible Complications of Hip Replacement Surgery

Joint replacement surgery is major surgery and although advances in technology and medical care have made the procedure very safe and effective, there are risks.  These risks should be considered carefully before you decide to have surgery. We encourage you to discuss the potential risks with your orthopedic surgeon, primary care provider and your family.

Every measure will be taken by our team of experts to minimize the risks and avoid complications. Although complications are rare, they do sometimes occur. We will do our very best to avoid the most common risks which include:

Blood Clots

Blood clots can form in a leg vein and possibly break free and move to your lungs after hip replacement surgery and can be dangerous. Blood clots are more common in older patients, patients who are obese, patients with a history of blood clots, patients who smoke, and patients with cancer.


Infection is very rare in healthy patients having hip replacement. Patients with chronic health conditions, like diabetes or liver disease, or patients who take some forms of corticosteroids, are at higher risk of infection after any surgery.

Nerve, Blood Vessel, and Ligament Injuries

Damage to the surrounding structures in the hip, including nerves, blood vessels and ligaments, are possible but extremely rare.

Wound Healing

Sometimes the surgical incision heals slowly, particularly if you take corticosteroids or have a disease that affects the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, or you are a smoker.

Limited Range of Motion

The day of surgery, you will begin exercises to help improve the flexibility of your hip. Your ability to bend your hip after surgery often depends on how far you could bend it before surgery. Even after physical therapy and an extended recovery period, some people are not able to bend their hip far enough to do normal activities such as reaching your feet to put on socks or tie your shoes.


Bleeding into the hip can occur either immediately after surgery or at a later time. This is accompanied by acute pain and swelling and is sometimes confused with infection.

Dislocation of the Hip

A patient’s hip may move out of place after surgery. (2-3% of patients) If this occurs, your surgeon will put the hip joint back in place.

Changes in the Length of Your Leg

After hip replacement, slight changes in the length of your leg may occur. The change is typically very small (less than 3/8”) and is usually not noticeable to patients.

Loosening of the Joint

Over the long term, loosening of the artificial hip joint is the most common risk associated with total hip replacement. Loosening may occur when tissue grows between the artificial joint and your bone.

What Results Are Typical?

You can expect a successful outcome from your hip replacement surgery. Generally, patients experience less pain and more mobility, and can resume most of the activities they enjoyed before the onset of arthritis. Long-term studies show that 85-90% of artificial joints are intact and functional after 20 years. Your artificial joint will last longer if you maintain your ideal weight and if you avoid high impact activities.

Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery

Our goal is to assist you in returning to a normal, active lifestyle.  To accomplish this we have designed a program to benefit you, and help you return to the comforts of home as soon as possible.

Patients encourage each other and share their joint replacement experience in a group setting, from preoperative education to postoperative rehabilitation.

A Team Effort

Success for your surgery is a team effort; you and your coach (family member or friend) are critical members of this team.  A home program for rehabilitation exercises is a MUST during the early recovery period.  Your surgeon and therapist will determine the type and amount of exercise you should be doing to assist you in returning to your normal, active lifestyle.  Early motion is the key to a successful recovery.

Your physical therapist will help you begin your exercise routine. These exercises are designed to help increase strength and flexibility in the joint. Ultimately, the goal is for you to perform activities of daily living, like walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of bed and up and down from a chair or toilet. In order to ensure maximum success, it is important that you follow physical therapy instructions both while you are in the hospital and after you are dismissed from the hospital.

What to Expect

Your physical therapist will provide you with a packet that is designed specifically for you prior to discharge.  For maximum benefit, the program should be followed according to the instructions provided.

Weeks 1 – 3

During weeks 1 through 3, you will become more independent.  If you are receiving home therapy, you will need to be very faithful to your exercise program to achieve the best outcome.

Weeks 4 – 6

During weeks 4 through 6, you will see increasing mobility to full independence. Your home exercise program will be even more important as you receive less supervised therapy. 

Weeks 7 – 12

During weeks 7 through 12, you should be able to begin resuming all of your normal activities.

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