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Hip Replacement Surgery: Risks & Complications Patients Must Be Aware Of | WhatsNews4Today

Hip Replacement Surgery: Risks & Complications Patients Must Be Aware Of

The progress in medical science has made joint replacement a simple and effective procedure over the years. Total joint replacement has a high success rate, giving a new lease of life to aging adults and people suffering from traumatic injuries. According to the American College of Rheumatology statistics, the annual count for knee replacements is more than 790,000, and that for hip replacements is over 450,000.

Hip replacement offers pain relief to 90% of patients, and the implants last over two decades. The procedure is a lifelong solution to medical conditions and injuries for most patients. However, just like every surgical procedure, hip replacement surgeries have a fair share of risks and complications.

Knowing them before proceeding with the surgery enables you to be more realistic about the outcomes and make informed decisions. Here are the risks and complications you need to be aware of:

Surgical Complications

All surgical procedures entail some complications, and hip replacement is no exception. Most of the potential complications relate to the administration of general anesthesia during the surgery. Blood clots, arrhythmia, stroke, heart attack, and pneumonia are the most serious ones. A blood clot may worsen, causing severe complications such as Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary embolism (PE).

CDC statistics show that approximately 1 in 100 patients develop a life-threatening post-surgical blood clot. While the numbers are scary, surgeons suggest measures such as getting out of bed shortly after surgery and adhering to physical therapy effectively to lower the risk of blood clots. Blood-thinning medications can also address potential complications.

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Implant Failure

Even the most skilled surgeon and best medical facilities do not guarantee success for hip replacement surgeries. Implant failure is a possibility you cannot overlook. Although rare, such incidents do happen,  due to defective implants. The recall of knee, hip, and ankle implants by Exactech is an instance that shows the gravity of the risk.

The company acknowledged the packaging defect for all hip devices with polyethylene components and issued a recall in August 2022. However, the action came too late for people suffering from side effects such as pain, bone degradation, bone loss, and inability to bear weight after the surgery. The only relief is that they can file an Exactech hip replacement lawsuit to claim compensation for their pain and suffering.

TorHoerman Law notes that the lawsuit already has 373 plaintiffs seeking justice for their problems caused by the negligence of the manufacturer. These lawsuits have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL), showing the gravity of the matter.

Hip Dislocation

Dislocation after total hip replacement has an incidence rate of 1%-3%, making it a considerable risk factor for patients seeking the procedure. It happens when the prosthetic ball moves out of the socket. Although the issue can be resolved without surgery, the repositioning procedure requires anesthesia and manipulation.

Women and older patients are at a higher risk of hip dislocation. The incidence may also be high for those with a previous hip replacement or poor stability due to inflammatory arthritis, osteonecrosis, or a pre-existing condition. Avoiding certain activities and movements can reduce the likelihood of dislocation.

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Besides hip dislocation, loosening of the prosthetic is another complication to watch out for. The new implant should fit securely and snugly with the natural bone. For most patients, the bones align with the implant surface for a perfect fit. However, it may not happen in rare cases, leading to loosening of the bond between the implant and the bone. Revision surgery is often the only way to address the issue.


According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 1 in 100 patients may develop an infection after hip replacement. The superficial infection in the wound can be easily treated with antibiotics. But deep-seated infection around the implant is more problematic as it often requires one or two additional surgical procedures.

Obesity, diabetes, anemia, sickle cell disease, blot clotting disorders, and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, make patients more vulnerable to post-surgical infections. A course of antibiotics ahead of the procedure may prevent potential infections from spreading to the implant. At the same time, you should be watchful about red flags and stay regular with follow-up checks after the procedure.


Hip replacement surgery has an excellent success rate, but complications and risks can arise without warning. Awareness is the best way to keep an eye on the earliest signs of complications and seek solutions for them. An early diagnosis and treatment can be a savior, no matter how complicated the situation is.