Hip replacement surgery entails an operation under general anesthesia to remove the damaged joint and replace it with an artificial ball and socket joint, according to Mayo Clinic. Hip replacement surgery is reserved for patients experiencing significant pain that does not improve with conservative treatment.
Once the patient is under anesthesia and his muscles relax, the surgeon makes an incision on the side or front of the hip, cutting through skin, muscle and other tissues to expose the bone, reports Mayo Clinic. The surgeon removes damaged bone from the top of the femur and the socket of the pelvis while leaving healthy tissue intact. He implants the prosthetic joint by joining the socket to the pelvis and the ball to the top of the femur.
Patients remain in the hospital for four to six days after hip replacement surgery, according to WebMD. The day after surgery, most patients start physical therapy. Hip replacement patients begin walking using crutches or a walker within a few days of the procedure, and they continue with physical therapy for several months.
With a hip replacement, most patients feel less pain than before the surgery, but the procedure limits some activities, according to Mayo Clinic. High-impact activities, such as running, can damage the prosthetic joint. After recovery, most patients can safely engage in low-impact activities, such as swimming or hiking.