Last fact-checked: 6 September 2020
A hip replacement can be a life-changing solution for people with damaged or worn out hip joints.
The most common cause of this damage is degeneration of the joint from osteoarthritis causing chronic pain, impairment of daily functions such as bathing, walking, performing general household chores, preparing meals and an inability to sleep. All of these symptoms are considered life-limiting.
If you have been putting off undergoing hip replacement surgery at home due to prohibitively high prices, or you're stuck on a long waiting list, it might be time to consider undergoing this relatively straightforward yet expensive procedure abroad.
By booking in with one of Medical Departures' global clinic listings, which include world-class hospitals across Southeast Asia, as well as parts of Europe and South America, you can easily save over ten thousand dollars while regaining your quality of life.
Hip replacements are typically performed on patients over 60 years of age but this isn't a rule set in stone. The reluctance to replace a younger hip is generally because there will be extra stress placed on it, causing it to wear out again. Replacement hips can last for around 20 years.
The procedure is only really considered after pain relief and physical therapy have been exhausted. Consult with a local doctor before deciding to embark on surgery abroad; they will be able to advise you on whether this surgery is needed.
The surgery, which is carried out as an inpatient procedure under general anesthetic, essentially involves removing the damaged or diseased part (the top of the upper thigh bone and the socket it fits into), replacing it with a new, prosthetic hip joint.
The aim is to restore the function of the hip joint function, which will make walking and other movement easier, as well as relieving pain when sitting or lying down.
Hips are comprised of two major parts: the hip socket (acetabulum) and/or the upper end of the thigh bone (femoral head). Either one or both of these may be replaced as part of this procedure.
The replacement socket is usually made from a strong metal. A full replacement, known as total hip arthroplasty, involves replacing the acetabulum and femoral head whereas a half or semi-replacement just replaces the femoral head.
A metal stem is inserted into the thigh bone (femur). At the neck of this stem is a small metal or ceramic hip ball which will replace the top of your thigh bone and fit into a plastic or ceramic liner which allows the hip to move smoothly. Together, these create a new joint. The liner is inserted into a metal shell that is anchored to your pelvis and a metal stem that is attached to the thigh bone makes the joint more stable.
Your surgeon will make the decision as to whether to anchor the new hip to the bone using cement or the more natural, bone ingrowth. The cement hardens to a durable polymer and holds the implant in place but the most popular method of fixation is bone ingrowth which uses porous-coated implant technology and revolutionized hip replacements. A fiber mesh simulates the bone with a special, granular surface into which the bone grows and in turn locks the implant into place.
Although no two patients are the same, the recovery time for a hip replacement will take quite some time; generally between three and six months when you will be able to resume normal activities. Your surgeon will assure you that you will get out of your recovery what you put in - in other words, a positive mental attitude, a strong support network and becoming a diligent and active participant will help speed up your recovery and give you a more successful outcome.
Short-term recovery involves the ability to eat and drink normally, climb up and down a short flight of stairs, use the bathroom, be able to perform the prescribed home exercises and get in and out of your hospital bed, you will normally be discharged with a walker, crutches or a cane between one and four days later.
Soon after your discharge, you should be able to give up major pain relief, perhaps exchanging it for over-the-counter painkillers and manage a full night of sleep. When you no longer need a walking aid, you can start to walk around the house and if you’re feeling adventurous, outdoors for a couple of blocks without resting and hopefully pain-free. Exercise will reduce stiffness of joints, make the muscles stronger and improve range of motion.
Long-term recovery from hip replacement involves the healing of all surgical wounds and internal soft tissue and a gradual return to normal activities. You should also be starting to feel ‘normal’ again. It’s recommended that you allow around three to six months for this but as with all medical procedures, this may vary.
You are considered ‘healed’ when you are in a better physical state with greater mobility and less pain than you were prior to your operation.
Do always consult with your surgeon abroad as to when you will be able to safely fly back home.
After taking into consideration all medical bills, hip replacements in the US cost, on average, a staggering $32,000. They don't come much cheaper in places like Australia and privately in the UK, either.
In comparison, the same treatment at our partner facilities in places like Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia costs well under $10,000, meaning it's possible to make a four-figure net saving even when taking into consideration flights, accommodation and rehabilitation expenses before being able to fly home.
Get started now and compared some of the latest prices on offer for hip replacements at these top-rated MD-verified hospitals:
Look through our verified hospitals and book your hip replacement via the Medical Departures site to ensure you pay the best prices online.
Our Customer Care Team can also be reached around the clock who can help you with your booking, provide a free quote or assist you with any other aspect of your trip, such as finance or insurance.
Hip replacement surgery costs and how to pay for them. Lending Point. 24 July 2017. https://www.lendingpoint.com/blog/hip-replacement-surgery-what-it-costs-and-how-to-pay-for-it/
Arthritis and Hip Replacement Surgery. WebMD. 5 May 2018. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/hip-replacement-surgery
Ishidou, Y et al. Osteoarthritis of the hip joint in elderly patients is most commonly atrophic, with low parameters of acetabular dysplasia and possible involvement of osteoporosis. March 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362671/
Slideshow: Hip Surgery Recovery Timeline. WebMD. 2020. https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hip-surgery-recovery-timeline