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Hip Replacement

When you have a hitch in your get along, speak with one of our orthopedic surgeons about getting a hip replacement to get rid of your pain.

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Hip Replacement at NMC Health

Do you ever wake up with stiff joints or hip pain that stops you in your path? Whether you suffer from arthritis or have noticed normal wear and tear associated with aging, NMC Health has expert doctors who can get you feeling better.

Chronic hip pain can put a halt on your life and make day-to-day activities painful. NMC Health Orthopedics & Sports Specialists are highly trained in orthopedic medicine and hip replacements.

Hip Replacement Surgery

If you need a hip replacement, NMC Health has specially trained orthopedic surgeons who use the latest advancements in robotic arm-assisted technology for hip replacement surgery.

When you get your hip replaced, our NMC Health surgeons, like Dr. J. Scott Pigg, will create a custom 3D model care plan to help determine what type of hip replacement joint you’ll need and how it will be placed.

By using a prosthetic, Dr. Pigg and his team can create a new joint that with appropriate after care, can give you back range of motion and improve your quality of life.

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the NMC Health Medical Center Emergency Department.


Your hip joint is made up of a ball and socket joint where the rounded head of your thigh bone (femur) fits into the socket of your pelvis (acetabulum). Tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones and muscles work together to help you be able to rotate the joint in different directions.

In a normal hip, the cartilage makes the movement smooth and easy. If you suffer from arthritis or injury, the cartilage breaks down and the top of your thigh bone (femur) rubs against the socket joint. When your bones rub together, any activity where you move your hip (sitting, standing and walking) can become painful.

If arthritis or injury is causing you pain, it might be time to talk to your doctor about whether you need a hip replacement.

Hip replacement surgery may be an option when arthritis limits your everyday activities. If you are having pain with walking or bending and it continues when you rest, you might be a good candidate for a hip replacement.

Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history and examine the range of motion in your hip. The goal is to figure out what might be causing your pain. You may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who will request you get a diagnostic imaging test like an MRI for a better picture of what’s going on in your joint.

From there, the orthopedic surgeon will let you know your options. He or she might prescribe you pain medicine to make you feel better or see that you need hip replacement surgery.

During a hip replacement surgery, a patient will undergo anesthesia as our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. J. Scott Pigg, uses our state-of-the-art robotic arm-assisted Mako machine to perform the procedure. The procedure take about 1 to 2 hours.

Dr. Pigg will cut open the hip and clean out the damaged hip socket. The damaged bone is removed from the top of the thigh bone (femur) and a new prosthesis is put in its place.

When the procedure is complete, your hip will be closed and you’ll receive a special bandage, which you will keep in place until your follow up visit with Dr. Pigg.

Just like with any surgery, there are risks involved with having a hip replacement. Those risks include:

  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Hip dislocation
  • Blood clots
  • Change in leg length
  • Loosening of the hip implant
  • A need for a second hip replacement

Your orthopedic surgeon will go over the list of risks in detail with you and give you information on how to prevent them from happening.

As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications. However, they are relatively rare. Blood clots are the most common complication after surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe one more measures to prevent them, such as support hose, inflatable leg coverings and blood thinners. 

Hip replacements are considered an inpatient procedure at NMC Health. You can expect to stay at least overnight in the hospital. During your stay, you will go through inpatient rehabilitation which includes physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Before you can leave the hospital, you’ll need to be able to show the doctor and medical staff you can successfully:

  • Get in and out of bed without help
  • Eat, drink and go to the bathroom on your own
  • Do all of your exercises as prescribed
  • Manage any pain you might have
  • Follow hip precautions (avoid bending hip past 90 degrees, avoid twisting leg in or out, avoid crossing legs, sit with hips higher than knees, sit in chair with armrests, sleep on your back with a pillow between your legs)
  • Prevent additional injury
  • Walk with a cane, walker or crutches
  • Climb up a set of stairs

As with any surgery, you might experience some discomfort at the joint site and soreness as you get used to the hip replacement. Most patients are pain-free within the next four to six weeks. If you are experiencing pain that won’t go away or your pain becomes unmanageable, speak with your orthopedic surgeon immediately.

After your hip replacement surgery, you can expect to spend the night in the hospital and be discharged the next day. Most hip replacement patients begin standing and walking with the help of a walker or crutches the day after surgery.

It is important to begin moving after surgery to get your blood flowing. This helps to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.

Recovery can vary from person to person. As long as you follow the hip precautions and work to prevent further injury, your hip should be healed about three to six months. While most people will gradually increase their activities, you will be asked to avoid high intensity sports. 

If you live alone, you might want to reserve a short stay in a rehab center after you leave the hospital. This will depend on how you progress while you’re recovering in the hospital.

In order to promote healing, be sure to continue to do your exercises and let your doctor know of any complications or hip pain.

After your surgery, you will need someone to drive you home from the hospital and to help out around the house for at least a few days. Especially right after you go home, it’s important to have a support person help you get dressed and shower. However, the length of time you’ll need to depend on someone varies from patient to patient.

Yes. Physical therapy will be the foundation of your recovery as you learn exercises that will help you heal.

The day after your hip replacement surgery, you will join our inpatient rehabilitation program at NMC Health. Your therapist will help you with muscle exercises and you will learn new ways to sit, stand and bend to prevent complications or new hip injury.

Most patients will continue physical therapy after being released from the hospital for another six to eight weeks with sessions up to twice a week. NMC Health Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation is a great option to continue your PT journey.

Most people will not require a blood transfusion. Those who do usually have low blood counts to start with. If your blood counts are high, it is much less likely that you will need a transfusion. Your blood count will be checked before surgery and while you are in the hospital. 

Blood transfusions are usually recommended if your blood counts get low enough to potentially put strain on your heart. Our expert team will monitor you throughout your stay at NMC Health Medical Center.

After you have your hip replacement surgery, it’s important for you to listen to all of the information given to you by your orthopedic surgeon. Your road to recovery is dependent on you following hip precautions and other preventative measures to protect your new hip.

You can help your recovery by:

  • Icing your hip if you have any swelling
  • Using a heat pack on your hip before doing your exercises to help with your range of motion
  • Keep your leg elevated after surgery to keep pain and swelling at a minimum
  • Remember not to bend or make any sudden movements that could compromise the new hip joint
  • Call your doctor immediately if you experience any complications

Before you can have hip replacement surgery at NMC Health, you must be referred by your primary care doctor to see one of our board-certified orthopedic surgeons.

Once you’ve been evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon, your hip replacement surgery will be scheduled. Before your surgery, you will attend our in-person joint education class. There, you’ll learn all about the process of having a hip replacement at NMC Health.

If you have any questions about hip replacements or any other joint replacements, call NMC Health Orthopedics & Sports Specialists.

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