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  • Oct 19, 2020

Total Hip Replacement Complications & Surgery Recovery


An orthopaedics is the first person to concern when you are suffering from an issue in your hip joint. He carries out the entire diagnosis and suggests if your condition requires surgery or not. The damage in the hip joint if not curable by medicines or physiotherapy calls for Hip Replacement. The hip consists of two main parts that are the bone and the cartilage or the ball and the shaft. If the condition of the patient requires the replacement of both the parts, it is known as Total Hip Replacement or Total Hip Arthroplasty.

Introduction to Total Hip Replacement?

The replacement of damaged part of your hip with the help of the artificial joints made up of ceramic, plastic or metal, to improve the necessary function is known as Total Hip Replacement.

There are numerous advantages of Total Hip Replacement Surgery. The function of the hip that became slow due to any kind of damage in the hip joint can be back to pace. You can easily overcome the hindrance in your daily life that was due to damage of hip joint with the help of Total Hip Replacement and a lot more.

But nothing comes for free. Every benefit associated with certain kinds of complications. Likewise, Total Hip Replacement surgery has certain pros & cons that walk hand in hand. We are already aware of the advantages, the most important one is that you can get rid of any of the problems in your hip joint. But the question is what are the complications of Total Hip Replacement? Continue to read the blog to know about the same.

Complications & Risks of Total Hip Replacement:

Total Hip Replacement is the most common form of Orthopaedic surgery after the Knee Replacement. The obvious reason being the output or the result of the surgery is usually a success. But that cannot be true in all the cases. At times, there are certain complications and they may or may not be curable. First let us know what can be the possible consequences or after effects of the Total Hip Replacement.


After the surgery, one cannot move freely without restrictions. You have to be careful while sitting and other physical activities. You cannot even think of getting into extreme level positions like squats, sit-ups etc. Taking up with these activities can lead to dislocation of the hip and ultimately one has to take up with the surgery all over again.

Blood Loss:

There can be a huge loss of blood during Total Hip Replacement surgery. Either the person can donate or preserve his or her own blood before the surgery or will have to go for blood transfusion. The chances of risk are higher in case of blood transfusion, so it is better to preserve your own blood.

Risks due to Anesthesia:

The patient is given anaesthesia before beginning with the surgical process. There are some of the common complications that occur due to the use of anaesthesia; they are heart arrhythmias, brain or heart stroke, pneumonia and liver toxicity.

Blood Clotting:

When your hip or knee undergoes any kind of orthopaedic surgery, there is often a risk for blood clotting. For a Total Hip Replacement, the clotting begins from lower extremities and then travels to the lungs. The formation of blood clots close to lungs is known as Pulmonary Embolism. If the Pulmonary Embolism reaches extreme levels then the situation can lead to respiratory failure and even death.

Prosthesis Failure:

Usually, the life of Total Hip Replacement is between 12 to 15 years but at times there is a loosening of the prosthesis. The reasons for the loosening of the prosthesis or prosthesis failure can be different for every individual. No matter what the reason is, the solution for the same is taking up Total Hip Replacement Surgery all over again. You have to undergo diagnosis, surgery and recovery process all over again.

Dislocation of The Hip:

Any kind of negligence during the recovery period puts forward the improper positioning of the hip. If it takes the proper position even after surgery & recovery there are probable chances that it dislocates due to the regeneration of arthritis, injury or accident. You have no option other than taking up with Hip Replacement once again.

Asymmetry in the Leg Length:

One of the unusual complications after the Total Hip Replacement is changing in the height of two legs. It can cause serious problems and inconvenience in walking.


Apart from all the risks and complications detailed above, some other risks can be:

  • Bone fracture, during or after the completion of surgery.
  • Infection in skin or joint.
  • Difficulty in excretion, specifical urination.
  • Scarring.
  • Problems with the flexibility of hip movements.

Well, there are a number of risks that associate with Total Hip Replacement but the best part is that it does not attack everyone. One in hundred patients have to bear the harsh consequences. In other words, you can say the success rate of Total Hip Replacement surgery is 99%.

The success of surgery highly depends on the factors like an expert orthopaedic surgeon and most importantly the recovery period. 

 Things to Consider for Recovery from Total Hip Replacement:

It may take 3 to 4 hours for completion of the surgical process of Total Hip Replacement but it is incomplete without considering the recovery time. Recovery is the post or after surgery time where a patient is under expert surveillance. The patient has all-time guidance from the doctors, surgeons, physicians, nurses and physiotherapist. He is given the entire list for what to do or whatnot.

The recovery period has certain stages. Let us check them all.

Initial Stage:

Once the surgery is complete, the patient is still under the effect of anaesthesia. From the operation theatre, the person is taken to the recovery unit or critical care unit. Both the legs of the patient are set apart with the help of a pillow or a soft pad. This is done in order to get the right position of the hip after Total Hip Replacement.

The patient has an intravenous drip in the arm to provide necessary fluids and medications. Also, a drainage tube is inserted for the waste discharge of the body. You, as a patient are supposed to be in the recovery unit until you get back to consciousness.

The doctor will shift you to a private ward once you are back to the senses. Though the pillow will remain at its place.

Intermediate Stage:

Now, you will suffer intense pain as you are out of the effect of anaesthesia. For subsiding the pain, the doctor will provide you with Patient-Controlled Analgesia. You can press a button and decide the amount of painkiller you want to allow in your veins. The patient can get hold of the quantity of painkiller in his body depending upon his or her bearing capability.

The medical professionals will help you to get rid of drip and drainage tubes within 24 hours. Now you can start walking. Initially, with the help of support like walker or crutches and later on your own.

Recovery time of a patient can be different from one another and it highly depends on certain factors that include:

  • Age of the patient.
  • The general health of the patient.
  • Strength of the muscles.
  • Joints and condition of the joints of the patient.

Doctors observe you regularly from time to time. If everything goes well, he will take you to the Accelerated Rehabilitation Programme.

Final Stage:

This stage is for those who respond as per the surgeon’s expectations after the Total Hip Replacement. Here the patient is made to get back to self-dependency. It includes things like moving, walking and eating. Normally the duration for training is 12 to 18 hours in this section and you can start moving freely. The process undertaken by doctors at this stage can lead to the early recovery of the patient. At the final stage of recovery, you will receive:


The physiotherapist tells you all the necessary exercises during this stage. He will give you all the tips and tricks on how to stand, how to sit, how to move, how to take a shower, what is the best position to sleep etc. In short, you will receive to do instructions and exercises to get back to mobility without facing complications.

Occupational Therapy:

As the physiotherapist and occupational therapist approve your condition, you can go home within 6 to 10 days of your Total Hip Replacement. You don’t have to stay there for long. In most of the cases the patient is even able to climb up and down the stairs before going home.


After being home nurse can guide you from time to time. She can come to change the bandages and remove the stitches when it is time.

Following the above process one can recover soon after the Total Hip Replacement and can get back to normal routine.

After the completion of physiotherapy, an occupational therapist will judge your physical abilities. He will provide you with additional guidance on what should be the correct height to sit, what things can lead to loosening of prosthesis or dislocation. You have to seek and follow the advice in order to avoid risk.

Final Verdict:

Total Hip Replacement is successful and can be accomplished without complications if you follow the do’s and don’ts precisely. Make sure you are really careful during and after the recovery period in order to avoid the harmful consequences of a Total Hip Replacement Surgery.

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