Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

Joint replacement surgeon Jonathon Salava, MD, explains a procedure.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting one in six Americans. If you suffer from chronic pain due to arthritis or trauma-related conditions, a hip replacement may be right for you.

The hip is the largest weight-bearing joint in the body. It is a ball and socket joint. The ball lies at the top of the thigh bone (femur) that fits into a rounded socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis. A thick rubber ball-like material called ligament and capsule hold the ball in the socket and provide stability in the joint along with the musculature of the hip. The bony ends are covered with a smooth surface called cartilage. Cartilage provides cushion to the bones and permits them to move smoothly. This cartilage can wear away. This can be secondary to normal wear and tear or disease or injury. This can cause pain and swelling and subsequent muscle weakness causing reduced function.

What is minimally invasive total hip replacement?

Minimally invasive total hip replacement is a surgical procedure that removes worn surfaces of the hip and replaces them with a special prosthesis. Hip replacement procedures use prosthetic components made of special metals. The ball is replaced with a metal stem and ball. The socket is replaced with metal. The component articulates with a liner that could be made of plastic, ceramic or metal. The components are usually press fitted into the bone; occasionally they are secured with screws or cement specifically designed for bone.

The hip replacement procedure is conducted under general or regional anesthesia. After your procedure, you will have an incision approximately three inches long on the outside part of the thigh. Usually two to three days in the hospital are all that is required. You will be standing and walking the first day after surgery. Joint replacement requires some physical therapy, which begins the first day after surgery as well. Surgical soreness and swelling may take a few weeks to subside; however, within several weeks you should be able to return to normal activities.


Minimally invasive total hip replacement requires a markedly smaller incision than a typical hip replacement operation. The deeper dissection is markedly smaller as well. We have found that patients recover with significantly less discomfort than with the standard operation. Total hip replacement eliminates all the pain that comes from an arthritic hip and significantly improves function. However, the decision to have a hip replacement should be made between you and your orthopedic surgeon after a thorough orthopedic examination has been completed.

You may benefit from a hip replacement if:

  • You have severe arthritis of the hip on your X-rays
  • You have severe hip pain that prevents you from doing the activities that you enjoy
  • You have failed nonoperative management that has included medications, occasional injections, physical therapy or walking aids


How long will I be in pain?
Everyone differs. Typically post-surgical soreness and swelling last about six weeks.

How long is the recovery period?
It lasts approximately six to 12 weeks, but patients continue to improve strength and flexibility for up to one year.

How long until I can walk?
Hip replacement patients are out of bed and walking from the first day after surgery.

How long will I have physical therapy?
The duration of physical therapy is based on each patient's rate of progress and need.

When can I go back to work?
Your return to work is dependent on the type of work your job requires. Estimates for recovery time are below.

  • Office work: Three weeks
  • Standing: From six weeks to three months
  • Labor: About three months

  • Last updated: 03/06/2015
  • Share |

Watch Video

View more videos