What is a total hip replacement?

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common procedures, particularly in elderly patients. The hip – the point at which the thighbone and pelvic bone meet – is placed under a lot of stress as it carries a large portion of body weight, and is easily fractured or broken as bone density decreases with age. Also known as anthroplasty, the hip replacement procedure involves replacing damaged cartilage and bone with prosthetic components. Prosthetic components used in hip replacement are made from a range of materials including metal, ceramic, and plastic. New technological advances in surgery mean that the procedure has long-term results.

Do I need it?

There are a number of conditions that can cause hip pain, and the discomfort associated with these conditions ranges in severity. Some common causes of hip pain include:

  • Sport injuries
  • Fractures
  • Labral tears
  • Cartilage delamination
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Impingement

Although less common, young patients can experience hip pain as a result of:

  • Tendon injury
  • Muscle injury
  • Fractures
  • Inflammatory arthritis

Hip fractures are relatively common in elderly patients because of a loss in bone density – even a small fall can cause an injury. Those who suffer from arthritis may also struggle with physical activities like walking and standing. In these cases your orthopedic surgeon will advise you about the benefits of undergoing a hip replacement procedure.

What do I need to know?

Before considering hip replacement surgery, an evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon is required. The procedure typically takes a few hours, and post-operative rehabilitation is essential.

When considering hip replacement surgery, bear in mind the following:

  • You may need to see a physiotherapist after your surgery to ensure you are aware of any limitations or precautions you will need to take.
  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection after the surgery.
  • Your doctor will prescribe pain medication after the procedure.
  • It will take some time for you to become fully mobile after your surgery– it is important to take time to heal properly. Your recovery time will depend on the severity of your hip injury.


Dr Gabriel Pirjol is based at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban and also consults and operates from Gateway Hospital in Umhlanga, Westville Hospital and Malvern Medicross.


Telephone : +27 31 202 5463

Email :

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001