What to Expect from Hip Replacement

Preparing for surgery can be overwhelming; it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with comforting statistics and greater understanding of your journey toward healing.

Over the last five decades, hip replacement surgery has proven to be a safe and effective means for reducing pain and regaining function for everyday activities. In fact, the first hip replacement surgery took place in 1960 and is now considered one of the most successful operations in all of medicine. Thanks to advancements in technologies and surgical techniques over the years, hip replacement procedures have become significantly more effective.

If you are considering or have already decided upon hip replacement surgery with your doctor, you are not alone. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality projects that approx. 440,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States.1

Hip replacement surgery is a commonly recommended solution for individuals with significant hip cartilage damage and pain from arthritis or injury. Coupled with post-surgical physical therapy, hip replacement can be effective in relieving the painful effects of cartilage damage and help restore your range of motion.

Total hip replacement, or total hip arthroplasty, is the surgical removal of a diseased or damaged hip joint and replacement with new artificial components. The artificial components, also called hip prosthesis, consist of a metal ball that is housed inside a metal or plastic socket. The implants are designed to be accepted by your body and resistant to wear.

Basic Steps of Hip Replacement:

  1. The diseased or damaged femoral head (top of the thigh bone) is surgically removed and a metal stem is placed into the hollow center of the femur.
  2. A metal or ceramic ball is affixed to the upper part of the metal stem, replacing the femoral head.
  3. The diseased or damaged cartilage surface of the acetabulum (hip socket) is taken out and replaced with a metal socket, or cup.
  4. A plastic or ceramic spacer is placed between the artificial ball and socket to facilitate smooth movement.


1 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality