Common complications from hip replacement surgery include blood cots, fracture, infection, dislocation, and alterations in leg length, according to Mayo Clinic. In joint prostheses that involve metal-on-metal contact, certain other complications can arise, and wear and tear may make a second replacement necessary.
The majority of artificial hip joints feature a ceramic or polished metal ball that sits in a cup liner made from hard plastic. In some prostheses, metal cup liners hold the metal ball. In those cases, metal ions sometimes get into the bloodstream and cause bone erosion and swelling, notes Mayo Clinic.
Surgery sometimes leads to blood clot formation. This is dangerous because clots sometimes break free and go to the heart, lung or brain. In some cases, blood thinners are prescribed to cut the risk of clotting. Infection may occur at the incision site and travel into the tissues around the hip. Antibiotics often treat infection, but if the infection gets significant enough, another replacement is sometimes necessary, reports Mayo Clinic.
Surgery can also cause healthy parts of the hip to fracture. Sometimes the fractures are minor enough that they heal independently, but they may be large enough to require correction with pins or bone grafts, states Mayo Clinic.