What is a hip replacement revision?

A hip replacement revision removes a previously implanted artificial hip joint, called a prosthesis, and replaces it with a new one. Hip prostheses can become infected and inflamed, dislocated, or loosened by wear and tear. Your surgeon may recommend a hip replacement revision if this happens. A hip replacement revision can restore pain-free range of motion and function in a damaged hip prosthesis.

A hip replacement revision is major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a hip replacement revision. 

Why is a hip replacement revision performed? 

Your doctor may recommend a hip replacement revision to replace a damaged artificial hip joint with a new one. Your doctor will only consider a hip replacement revision if other treatment options have not improved your condition. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion.

Your doctor may recommend a hip replacement revision to replace a hip prosthesis that is damaged due to: 

  • Dislocation of the original artificial joint
  • Infection of the original artificial joint causing chronic hip pain and swelling 
  • Loosening of the original artificial joint causing hip pain and reduced range of motion

Who performs a hip replacement revision?

Orthopedic surgeons perform hip replacement revisions. Orthopedic surgeons are specially trained to treat problems of the bones and joints. They perform surgery and prescribe other treatments.

How is a hip replacement revision performed?

Your hip replacement revision will be performed in a hospital or surgery center. It involves making an incision in the hip to remove the old hip implant, scar tissue, and any damaged cartilage and bone. Your surgeon prepares the remaining bone to hold the new hip implant. Your surgeon then places the new hip implant, tests it, and secures it permanently in place. 

Your hip may need treatment after removing the old implant if it is infected. You will have a second surgery to place the new implant after treating the infection.

Types of anesthesia 

Your surgeon will perform your hip replacement revision using either general anesthesia or regional anesthesia. 

  • General anesthesia is a combination of intravenous (IV) medications and gases that put you in a deep sleep. You are unaware of the surgery and do not feel any pain. You may also have a peripheral nerve block infusion in addition to general anesthesia. A peripheral nerve block infusion is an injection or continuous drip of a liquid anesthetic. The anesthetic flows through a tiny tube inserted near your surgical site to control pain during and after surgery.
  • Regional anesthesia is also known as a nerve block. It involves injecting an anesthetic around certain nerves to numb a large area of the body. You will likely have sedation with regional anesthesia to keep you relaxed and comfortable.

What to expect the day of your hip replacement revision

The day of your surgery, you can expect to:

  • Talk with a preoperative nurse. The nurse will perform an exam and ensure that all needed tests are in order. The nurse can also answer questions and will make sure you understand and sign the surgical consent form.
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry and dress in a hospital gown. It is a good idea to leave all jewelry and valuables at home or with a family member. The surgical team will give you blankets for modesty and warmth.
  • Talk with the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist about your medical history and the type of anesthesia you will have.
  • A surgical team member will start an IV.
  • The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will start your anesthesia.
  • A tube may be placed in your windpipe to protect and control breathing during general anesthesia. You will not feel or remember this or the surgical procedure as they happen.
  • The surgical team will monitor your vital signs and critical body functions. This occurs throughout the procedure and during your recovery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable.