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Total Hip Replacement Surgery: Posterior Approach

Total hip replacement surgery reduces hip pain and stiffness and restores mobility. Patients who undergo traditional hip replacement surgery will not be able to return to high-impact activities, such as running, but they will enjoy daily tasks with less pain.

If you suffer from severe arthritis pain or a hip injury, your doctor can help you decide if total hip replacement is the best treatment to restore your quality of life and get you back on your feet again. Watch our video to learn more.

Request a total hip replacement appointment online

When to Have A Hip Replacement?

Patients who qualify for total hip replacement surgery usually have one or more of the following conditions: 

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Broken hip 
  • Injuries that cause the joint to become rough and worn, resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness when the bones rub together

Some patients may be candidates for less invasive types of hip replacement surgeries. Learn more about hip resurfacing and the anterior approach to hip replacement.

Hip Replacement Procedure: What Happens During Surgery?

Total hip replacement involves replacing the hip joint’s cartilage and bone with implants.

Traditional hip replacement is an open surgery that requires an 8 to 10-inch incision close to the buttocks. This procedure utilizes the posterior approach to hip replacement. Your surgeon will create a new hip joint that moves smoothly with the following steps: 

  • Detach your muscles from the “ball and socket” of the hip joint 
  • Smooth out the hip socket and removes cartilage and any debris, such as damage to the bone from osteoarthritis 
  • Secure a cup-shaped implant into the socket 
  • Trim away the ball at the top of the leg bone and secure a metal stem inside the leg 
  • Place a metal or ceramic ball at the top of the stem and a smooth, sturdy plastic, metal or ceramic piece inside the cup-shaped implant

What to Expect after Total Hip Replacement Surgery

When you wake up from surgery, you may have: 

  • A catheter connected to your bladder, so you don't have to get out of bed to urinate 
  • A compression pump or compression stocking on your leg to keep the blood circulating and help prevent blood clots 
  • An IV to administer antibiotics for about a day after surgery 
  • Medications to control pain 
  • Medications to prevent blood clots (anticoagulants)

Most people go home a few days to a week after hip replacement surgery. Your doctor may want to see you for regular visits for several months or more to monitor your hip replacement.

Total Hip Replacement Recovery

You will work with a physical therapist during your hospital stay in North Carolina and learn how to use a walker, cane or crutches after total hip replacement surgery. You will continue with strengthening exercises at home. Some patients may need to go to a specialized rehab center for more treatment. Total rehab after surgery will take several months.

Hip Replacement Exercises & Home Care

After you go home, your doctor may recommend: 

  • Walking 
  • Strength training exercises 
  • Icing the operative area

Controlling your weight will help your new hip joint last longer. Learn more about Weight Management.

Recovery Time

You will be up and walking the day after hip surgery. Recovery varies from patient to patient, but most patients are walking unassisted within 2 to 8 weeks.

Living with a Total Hip Replacement

Most people have much less pain after total hip replacement surgery. While high-impact activities – such as running – will no longer be possible, you will be able to return to most daily activities. Here’s what you can expect: 

  • You will regain range of motion in the hip 
  • You will be able to walk without pain 
  • You will be doing activities that you were previously unable to do with arthritis


If you feel you're a candidate for total hip replacement surgery, request an orthopaedic appointment online.


Quick Reference

Orthopaedic Services

New Patients 336-716-WAKE
Toll-Free 888-716-WAKE
Returning Patients
Returning Pediatric Patients

Contact the Department

Main 336-716-8200
Fax 336-716-8018

For assistance after hours, please call 336-716-2011 and ask for the Orthopaedic Surgeon on call.
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Last Updated: 05-11-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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