Epworth is one of the largest providers of joint replacement surgery in the Asia-Pacific region, performing over 4,000 hip and knee replacement surgeries annually. We support our patients and their families at all stages, from diagnosis to special education clinics before treatment and rehabilitation programs to prepare for surgery or support recovery.
What is the hip joint?The hip can be described as a “ball and socket” joint. The socket, or acetabulum, is in your pelvis and is shaped like a cup. The ball is the femoral head, the upper end of the femur or thigh bone. The ball fits into the socket to give you mobility at the joint. The bone surfaces are covered by smooth cartilage that provides a cushioning surface so that the bones move easily. The bony surfaces are also lubricated by fluid which is present in the joint. The cartilage and the lubricating fluid enable the hip joint to move smoothly and painlessly.
When is hip surgery recommended?
In most cases, hip surgery is an elective surgery as opposed to emergency surgery. Generally, patients will only be recommended hip surgery when their pain prevents them from maintaining a good quality of life.
What are the risks associated with hip surgery?Hip surgery has minimal complications and is a highly effective surgery. On the rare chance, complications can include infections, blood clots, hip dislocation, and swelling.
If you’ve only just started to experience hip pain, your doctor may recommend other non-surgical interventions to manage or reduce your pain. For example, physiotherapy, pain medication or weight management can be alternative or complementary options to treat hip pain.
We recommend that you become familiar with the [conditions] that may eventually require a hip replacement.
Below are some common health concerns and injuries which may eventually require hip surgery.
Broken bones and injuries
- hip fractures
- articular cartilage damage
- labral tear
- arthritis that develops following an accident or trauma
- articular cartilage damage
Conditions and diseases
Other conditions which may require hip surgery are:
- acetabular dysplasia
- rheumatoid arthritis
- hip disease from birth
- hip pain that has not improved with other interventions (such as weight loss or pain medication) and has impacted your quality of life.
Below are some broad signs that should prompt you to consult your GP to get a referral to an Epworth specialist:
- pain during activity
- stiffness and clicking
- pain that severely impacts your quality of sleep
- bone on-bone arthritis
- noticeable swelling in your hip
- reduction in your quality of life or avoidance of activities you enjoy because of hip pain
Orthopaedic evaluation for hip surgery
The Orthopaedic Unit has dedicated teams of nursing, medical and allied health staff to expertly manage and evaluate all orthopaedic conditions.
Evaluation for hip surgery
Once you have received a referral from your GP, you will be able to book an appointment with an Epworth specialist. Your specialist will then assess your X-rays, medical history and physical exam to provide personalised treatment options.
- X-rays - During the early stages of investigating your hip pain, your doctor will likely arrange X-rays images to examine the hip bones and cartilage.
- Medical history - Your specialist will ask you questions about your ability to perform everyday activities, pain level and general health. There are no age or weight restrictions for hip replacements.
- Physical exam - During your consultation, your doctor will perform a physical exam to assess hip mobility and strength.
When booking an appointment with your specialist, you can speak with their administrative team to understand the fee for the consultation. We then recommend speaking with your insurance company to determine your out-of-pocket costs.
Epworth HealthCare has a significantly lower revision rate for primary conventional hip replacement and total resurfacing hip replacement compared to other Australian hospitals.
Fees and private health
Once you speak with your specialist, you’ll be provided with the relevant information to give your insurance company. Your insurer will provide you with the breakdown of treatment fees.
Non-surgical treatmentDepending on your injury or condition, you may be recommended to make lifestyle changes or non-surgical interventions. Physical therapy and rehabilitation may be suitable to help you manage the symptoms associated with your condition. If non-surgical treatment is no longer reducing your symptoms, we encourage you to speak with your doctor about alternative options.
Hip joint replacementA hip replacement is a type of surgery that aims to reduce pain and improve movement and quality of life by replacing damaged bones or cartilage of the hip with artificial parts. Epworth offers both anterior and posterior approaches for hip replacement surgeries.
Partial hip replacementA partial hip replacement is less invasive than a total hip replacement as the procedure only replaces the ball on the end of the thigh bone.
Total hip replacementTotal hip replacement is when the ball of the hip and the socket of the hip joint are removed and replaced with plastic or metal parts.
Bilateral hip replacementBilateral hip replacement is the replacement of damaged bones and cartilage on both sides of the hips. This procedure can be done as one or two surgeries.
Revision hip replacementAll joint replacements will need to be replaced eventually; this is known as revision surgery. Depending on your age and lifestyle factors (such as weight), your hip replacement will typically last around 15 years before revision surgery is needed.
Hip arthroscopyHip arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery which allows surgeons to see inside the hip joint to diagnose and treat a range of conditions.
Hip osteotomyIf you have hip dysplasia or impingement, hip osteotomy may be the best approach for you. Hip osteotomy refers to several different types of surgical procedures that are regarded as hip preservation surgery.
Internal fixationIf you have sustained a significant hip fracture, your doctor will likely recommend internal fixation which is a type of surgery where bones are realigned or partial hip replacement surgery.
Deciding whether hip surgery is right for you
The decision of whether to undergo hip surgery is a collaborative one. We encourage you to speak with your family, GP and orthopaedic surgeon. The more you know, the easier it will be to decide whether this surgery is right for you.
Preparing for surgery
We are here to support our patients and their families in preparing for hip surgery.
Pre-admission clinics at Epworth
We encourage you to view the videos below, which outline the patient journey to give you the confidence to be an active participant from your pre-operative exercise program through to your return home and post-surgery recovery.
Epworth Rehabilitation programs aren’t just something to consider after surgery. Our rehabilitation programs can also support people preparing for joint replacement or ligament surgery.
Occupational therapists recommend you review your home environment and implement simple modifications, moving trip hazards such as rugs and cords from walkways to ensure your home is safe following your surgery.
Why choose Epworth
Epworth HealthCare is Victoria's largest not-for-profit private hospital group. For a total hip replacement in Australia, there is an average waiting time of 126 days in the public system, a stark contrast to the private system, where you’ll only wait an average of 60 days for treatment.
Preparing for total hip replacement surgery
Our aim is to provide you with comprehensive and compassionate recovery care that will help you return to an independent and functional lifestyle as possible.
Type of surgery and recovery
Your recovery process may vary depending on the type of hip replacement surgery you undergo. For more information about your recovery based on your specific surgical approach, please refer to the Anterior Approach and Posterior of Lateral Approach documents below.
The day after your surgery
We are here to support you to get back to your life as soon and as safely as possible. Your care team will often try to get you moving the day after your operation. This will support your recovery and reduce the likelihood of complications, so you can book your next holiday, get back to playing sport, or return to work sooner.
Please watch the videos below to learn more about what to expect during the first few days after your operation.
Recovery after hip surgery
Using a long-handled aid
It is normal to have some pain following major surgery. By controlling your pain as best we can, you are likely to recover faster. The team caring for you will offer you medications to manage your pain, enabling you to participate in your walking and exercise program. It is important to be proactive in asking for pain relief. As your pain improves, you will gradually require less pain medication. You will be supplied with pain relief medication on discharge.
Your physiotherapist will assist you in completing a daily walking and exercise program. The planned exercises aim to restore the range of movement and muscle strength.
The below videos discuss what to expect from during your initial inpatient stay after surgery and when your care team might recommend further rehabilitation assessment.
Depending on your personal needs and your GP or surgeon’s recommendations, you may be referred to a rehabilitation program.
How rehabilitation supports your recovery
Guided by Epworth physiotherapists and occupational therapists, rehabilitation will help you to feel stronger, safer and more confident to participate in everyday life activities.
Achieve your post-surgery goals
Our rehabilitation team will assess and develop a specific rehabilitation program based on individual needs and goals. Your program will consider factors such as pain, arthritis, movement, and personal goals such as returning to work or sport.
Rehab after your joint replacement surgery
There are a few ways you can access our rehabilitation programs. Your surgeon and care team will work with you to identify the best option:
Rehabilitation at home
- A physiotherapist will visit you at home and develop a program you can complete in your local area. Our team will also connect you to local services such as gyms and pools if it benefits your recovery. The team will also recommend equipment you may like to purchase or hire to support recovery and long-term health.
- Outpatient program involves visiting the hospital a few times a week to complete your rehabilitation program.
- If you are recommended an inpatient program, you will stay in our rehabilitation hospital for about 5-7 days after your surgical admission.
Why choose Epworth for rehabilitation?
Epworth Rehabilitation offers patients access to an expert team of rehabilitation clinicians with purpose-built gymnasiums, hydrotherapy pools and other specialised rehabilitation equipment to support you.
Fees and health insurance
Depending on the level of your private health insurance, our rehabilitation services may be covered by your health fund. You can also choose to self-fund if you prefer. Whichever option you choose, we will provide you with the financial information when you are referred to Epworth Rehabilitation.