Risks

Risks and Complications.

Total Hip Replacement

It should be emphasised that serious complications are rare but it is important that all patients are informed of these risks. Mr Clarke will go through these in detail at the time of the initial consultation and also at the time of consenting for surgery. Many patients have multiple medical problems in the senior decades of life. The vast majority of patients are still accepted for surgery with a high proportion being performed under a spinal anaesthetic which freezes the lower legs giving complete pain relief. This can be performed with extra sedation if patients wish. Alternatively a full general anaesthetic is usually available. If patients have serious medical problems a comprehensive anaesthetic assessment may be carried out prior to the surgery to assess these risks in detail.

Surgical complications include:

  • Deep infection (less than 1%)
  • Nerve damage affecting the sciatic nerve (0.5%)
  • Leg lengthening or shortening, increased if you have preoperative deformities. Occasionally this can require a shoe raise.
  • Risk of fatal clots is generally very rare. All patients are treated with low
    molecular weight Heparin, which is a tiny injection once per day, which helps to
    reduce the risk of clots by 50%.
  • Dislocation: 1%. Usually this is treated by a manipulation under anaesthetic. Very occasionally revision of the replacement has to be considered.
  • Revision due to loosening: approximately 1% per year for the life of the prosthesis.
  • Fracture. Minor cracks can occur with hip replacement surgery but a major fracture would be a very rare event
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