FAQs

‘Metal on metal’ hip replacement. Recently there has been concern regarding the failure rate of this type of hip replacement, one version of which is a ‘hip resurfacing’. This uses a ‘metal on metal’ bearing surface instead of the traditional ‘metal on plastic’. As a result, many surgeons no longer use them in their hip replacement practice. However, the large majority of such hip replacements continue to function well, and only a minority have thus far required further surgery. Nonetheless, specialised investigations and long term follow up are recommended if you have this type of hip replacement, whether or not you currently have any problems with it.
Ceramic bearings. Ceramics are ultra-smooth, low friction materials used in hip replacement surgery. They wear out very slowly, and are therefore often used in younger patients with high physical demands.
Metal on Plastic bearings. Standard hip replacement bearing combination with excellent long term results in patients over 60 years of age.
How long will my hip/knee replacement last?  Most hip/knee replacements last twenty years or more. A small number will fail earlier than this, at a rate of around 3% every ten years.
When can I drive a car following my hip replacement?  It is usual to be able to safely drive by about 6 weeks. This will depend partly on the type of car you drive, and which hip you have had replaced (eg if you drive an automatic and it is your left leg, then you might be safe to drive a little sooner).
Can I play sport after my hip replacement/knee replacement?  Running and high intensity contact sports are not advised, but cycling, swimming and doubles tennis are usually fine.
When can I have sex after my hip replacement?  It is quite safe to have sex after about 4 weeks, as long as you avoid twisting the hip too much which could cause a dislocation of the joint.
Are there stitches to remove? After hip replacement, there are no stitches to remove. After knee replacement, there are staples to hold the skin edges together which are removed by your GP’s nurse 2 weeks after the surgery.
Can cartilage be regenerated?  There are various techniques to encourage this (see cartilage injury)
What is a ‘cortisone injection’?  This is an injectable drug used in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It is often injected into the knee or hip as a treatment for arthritis in patients who may not yet require, or be suitable for, knee replacement surgery.
How much will my operation cost?  For self-pay patients, information on fees is available via the BMI website link