Anterior Hip Replacement

What are the complications and risks of having a total hip replacement?

Xray of both hips. The right hip has a Total Hip Replacement and the left hip is normal.
Xray of both hips.
The right hip has a Total Hip Replacement and the left hip is normal.

The complication rate following hip replacement surgery is very low.

However, it is important to always understand with potential complications (no matter how small the risk) when considering any operation.

The risks for a total hip replacement include:

Joint infection. Serious complications, such as joint infection, occur in fewer than 1% of patients.

Heart attack and Strokes. Major medical complications, such as heart attack or stroke, occur even less frequently.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) Blood clots in the leg veins are an uncommon problem, but can be potentially serious if the blood clot propogates to the lungs causing a condition called Pulmonary Embolus. Fortunately, this problem with the Anterior Hip Approach is very uncommon.

Uneven legs. Leg-length inequality may occur or may become or seem worse after hip replacement. Dr Phong Tran will take this into account, in addition to other issues, including the stability and biomechanics of the hip. Some patients may feel more comfortable with a shoe lift after surgery.


Wear and Tear. Over years, the hip prosthesis may wear out or loosen. This problem will likely be less common with newer materials and techniques. When the prosthesis wears, bone loss may occur because of the small particles produced at the wearing surface. This process is called osteolysis.

Revision surgery - having the operation done again.

Complications | How to help avoid problems after a Total Hip Replacement

Blood Clots | Deep Vein Thrombosis | DVT

One of the main risks of having a total hip replacement is a blood clot formation in the legs called a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). The danger with a DVT is that it may move to your lungs and cause severe and sometimes life-threatening breathing problems called a Pulmonary Embolism (PE).

This threat is present anytime after your operation and last for several weeks after your surgery.

To reduce this risk as much as possible

Whilst in hospital, you will:

  • wear special compression stockings
  • be given daily injections of blood thinners called anticoagulants
  • walking and exercise everyday to help circulate your blood

Whilst at home

Look for the warning signs.

These include:

  • Pain in your calf

Warning signs that a blood clot has traveled to your lung include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain, particularly with breathing

Notify Dr Phong Tran immediately if you develop any of these signs.

Preventing Infection

The most common causes of infection following hip replacement surgery are from bacteria that enter the bloodstream during dental procedures, urinary tract infections, or skin infections. These bacteria can lodge around your prosthesis.

Following your surgery, you may need to take antibiotics prior to dental work, including dental cleanings, or any surgical procedure that could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

Warning signs of a possible hip replacement infection are:

  • Persistent fever (higher than 37.5°C orally)
  • Shaking chills
  • Increasing redness, tenderness, or swelling of the hip wound
  • Drainage from the hip wound
  • Increasing hip pain with both activity and rest

Notify Dr Phong Tran immediately if you develop any of these signs.