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Total Hip Replacement

Mass General Brigham pioneered total hip replacement in the early 1960s. Since then, our orthopedic physicians and scientists have continued to lead and advance innovations in this field. 

Diagnosing your hip needs

The hip is one of the most stable joints in the body, but because it bears your body weight, it's more likely to develop arthritis due to the pressure. Pain in the hip may be caused by injury to muscles, tendons or the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion and lubricate joints.

Upon evaluating your medical records and imaging studies and discussing your goals, your Mass General Brigham physician may recommend a total hip replacement (THR). THR is often recommended for those with severe wear and loss of cartilage in the hip joint due to injury, trauma, arthritis, lack of blood supply or other congenital or age-related changes to the hip joint—especially if conservative treatment plans have not provided an adequate response. 

The hips are two joints, one on each side of your pelvis, where your legs meet your lower body. The pelvis bone is made up of three sections: the ilium, which is the broad, flaring portion of the pelvis; the pubis, which is the lower part of the pelvis, and the ischium, the bottom part of the pelvis. The hip joint itself is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and gives stability needed to bear body weight. The socket area (acetabulum) is inside the pelvis. The ball part of this joint is the top of the thighbone (femur). It joins with the acetabulum to form the hip joint. 

The Mass General Brigham orthopedic surgery team has collectively performed thousands of hip replacements. And they are experts at the latest, safest and minimally invasive techniques, including robot-assisted hip replacement and outpatient hip replacement (day) surgery. Our hip surgeons collaborate with other specialists to deliver comprehensive, customized care plans to every patient we serve.

Types of hip replacement surgeries

In a traditional total hip replacement, our surgeons remove the damaged head of the thighbone and resurface the damaged hip socket, replacing it with metal, plastic or ceramic components. The solution will depend upon your particular needs and condition.

In some cases, outpatient or "same-day" hip replacement is an option, allowing you to recover in the comfort of a hotel or your own home. Outpatient THR, or total hip arthroplasty, involves replacing the damaged joint with an implant. If your doctor has recommended total hip arthroplasty to you, please consider making an appointment to be evaluated by our surgical team. We can provide you with an expert opinion on your hip needs and treatment options.

We often care for and perform revision hip replacements on patients who have already had a total hip replacement – either many years prior or an unsuccessful replacement at another hospital.  Total hip replacement permits patients to participate in most activities of daily living, pain-free, for 10–20 years after surgery. Over time, implants can wear out and loosen, which can result in pain, stiffness or instability. If you have had hip replacement and are experiencing pain or discomfort, our doctors can evaluate you and help you determine your treatment options, including if a revision, or redo, surgery is necessary. 

Some athletes, and those with structural problems of the hip, are at high risk of developing hip labrum injuries. The ball-and-socket hip joint relies on labrum cartilage to keep the joint moving smoothly. A tear of the labrum, whether through injury or degeneration, can allow the bones to touch, leading to pain and stiffness in the hip. The severity of any tear will determine the labral tear symptoms, treatment options, and recovery timetables. We are experienced in care for these tears.

While a hip labral tear won't fully heal on its own, the symptoms of a minor tear or injury can be relieved with nonsurgical treatments. There are also surgical options, including minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in the labrum by either stitching the tear together, using healthy tissue from elsewhere in the body to reconstruct the labrum, or removing damaged pieces of labrum. In more severe cases, a surgeon may perform hip replacement surgery to improve movement.    

Hip replacement for international patients

Each year, thousands of patients from more than 120 countries travel to Mass General Brigham for medical care, second opinions and treatments unavailable anywhere else in the world. 

Our orthopedic teams are experienced in caring for hip patients who are traveling great distances to our hospitals in Boston. Our orthopedic care team and the international patient services team help you prepare for and plan the appropriate amount of time to stay in Boston before and after your treatment or surgery. During this recovery time in Boston, our clinical team will monitor your healing and medications and prepare you for the rehabilitation stage of your care. Your Mass General Brigham care team will work with you and your providers at home to ensure you receive the properly scheduled follow-up appointments and a rehab physical therapy program that is right for you.

Many of our international patients have questions about everything from travel and lodging to scheduling appointments. Our International patient services team is here to help. We look forward to making your Mass General Brigham experience as healing and stress-free as possible. 

Your Mass General Brigham hip surgery team

Meet Mass General Brigham's multidisciplinary team of hip surgery experts.

Hip Care

Scott Martin, MD, stresses the importance of taking care of the whole body and explains how a labral tear in the hip can impact several joints. In this video, he talks about how the Mass General Brigham team works to give athletes the best possible result.

Arthritis Symptoms, Joint Replacement, and Surgical Recovery Explained

Antonia Chen, MD, MBA, discusses the most common joint replacements and the best things people can do to help them return to the activities of daily life after surgery.

Visualizing Patient-Specific Kinematics for Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Young-Min Kwon, MBBS, PhD, discusses how the Bioengineering Laboratory is working to improve outcomes for patients with failing hip and knee replacements by visualizing the kinematics of the implant while the patients perform functional activities.