hip replacement problems

Hip Replacement Risks

Hip replacement is an incredibly safe procedure, but like all surgeries, there are some risks and complications associated with it. Here is a look at some of the more common hip replacement problems. 

Change in Leg Length

Surgeons go to great pains to ensure that a hip replacement doesn’t alter the length of your leg, but sometimes this is unavoidable. In cases where there is a discrepancy in length after the surgery, you may experience persistent and unexplained pain, and in extreme cases you may be required to wear a corrective heel on the other leg.

Hip Dislocation

The risk for dislocating your new hip after surgery is relatively high, but the chances of this occurring decrease over time. In the case that this does occur, you will experience sudden pain and will be unable to put pressure on the affected leg. While a problem like this will require immediate medical attention, additional surgeries to correct the problem are rarely necessary.

Infection in the Hip Joint

While this problem is relatively rare, it’s one of the most severe complications from hip replacement surgery. Doctors will first attempt to treat the infection with antibiotics, but if this proves unsuccessful, additional surgeries to remove the infection will be necessary. All hip replacement patients have a slight risk of infection, but those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or obesity have a risk that is higher than usual.

Blood Clots

Like most surgeries, hip replacement carries a risk of blood clots afterwards. These typically present themselves as deep vein thrombosis, which is not life-threatening, but in some cases may cause more serious problems. Signs of a blood clot include swelling and pain in the affected leg.

Wear and Tear

While hip prostheses are made from durable materials, there’s no way to avoid wear and tear. If the inner lining of the prosthesis is completely eroded, it will require an additional surgery to replace it. However, limiting activity and movement may be able to reduce the speed at which the prosthesis breaks down. 

Last Updated: June 13, 2016