Hip Replacement

Experiencing pain in your hip or groin? You may have a condition that has damaged the hip joint. Your surgeon may recommend a hip replacement surgery. This common surgery helps to address hip pain and restore mobility and function as you walk. Here are some common questions to help you discover more about hip replacement procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty , involves replacing the damaged cartilage and bone in the hip with metal implants and high grade plastic components. This surgery helps to relieve pain and restore function in patients who were otherwise having difficulty walking. It is an effective and safe procedure which has helped many patients regain their mobility and independence

2. Who needs Hip Replacement Surgery?
Patients with Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis will have damaged cartilage within the hip joint.

Symptoms you may experience include:

Patients with severe hip disease may find the affected leg to be shorter. A noticeable limp will be present when walking.

3. How do I decide if I need a Hip Replacement?

Dr Kau will ask about your hip symptoms and general health. He will examine your hip to check for stiffness, loss of motion, and stability. X-rays of the hip will be needed to evaluate the degree of damage. MRI scans may be needed if your condition is at an early stage of disease. A bone mineral density scan is useful to assess for osteoporosis. Dr Kau will discuss your options for the hip implant and approach to surgery.

Conditions that may require hip replacement include:

4. What are the types of Hip Replacement Surgery?

Total Hip Replacement

Partial Hip Replacement or Hemiarthroplasty of the Hip

5. What are the benefits of a Hip Replacement?
Hip Replacement addresses and eliminates hip pain from osteoarthritis. Benefits include:

After surgery, patients are able to stand and walk for longer periods of time. They regain their independence after surgery and are no longer afraid of travelling over longer distances. It allows patients to continue gainful employment without the need to worry about hip pain. For patients who have retired, the surgery allows them to enjoy their retirement and consider activities such as travelling abroad and participation in low impact sports.

6. How is a Hip Replacement performed?
A hip replacement is done under General or Regional (Spinal) Anaesthesia. The surgical team will advise you on any pre-surgery evaluation tests or fasting that is required. You won’t feel any pain during the surgery.

Dr Kau has harnessed technology to help achieve consistent results in his knee replacement surgeries. He uses Computer Navigation as a standard for all his patients. Computer Navigation provides the surgeon with “live” accurate data to ensure the knee and lower limb are well aligned and balanced.

In a posterior approach to the hip, your surgeon will make an incision between 10-15cm at the over the buttock. The sciatic nerve will be protected. The femoral head will be removed. Damaged cartilage and bone from the acetabulum will be reamed away to create a hemi-spherical space. The acetabulum and femoral metal implants will be accurately size and placed to achieve a stable joint. The affected leg will be lengthened and equalized to the opposite limb. Dr Kau is trained in Robotic surgery and can perform this procedure with Robotic-Assisted devices to get accurate and consistent results. Find out more at our page on Robotic-Assisted Joint Replacement.

Hip replacement surgery takes 1 – 2 hours to complete. You will be monitored before and after the surgery in the surgery centre before returning to the ward for rehabilitation. Pain medications will be prescribed to aid you in your physiotherapy and recovery.

7. What is the Direct Anterior Approach?
There are various ways for the surgeon to approach or reach the hip joint. The Direct Anterior Approach is a minimally invasive technique to approach the hip from the front. A 4 inch incision is placed at the front, and a muscle splitting approach along their natural planes is used to reach and replace the hip. Tendons are not detached or cut. In most cases, this approach allows patients to recovery faster with less pain after surgery. Because tendons are not detached, the hip is more stable and usual precautions after hip replacement surgery are not necessary. Speak to Dr Kau to find out if this approach is suitable for your hip replacement.

8. What are the Risks of a Hip Replacement?
Risks and complications after a hip replacement are not common. These could include:

9. What is the Cost of a Hip Replacement in Singapore?
The professional fees for Hip Replacement Surgery can range from $10,000 to $12,000 at a private hospital according to MOH’s Historical Transacted Bill Sizes and Fee Benchmarks. This is however before taking into account your insurance (e.g. Integrated Shield Plans, Medishield Life) and MediSave payouts. In addition, Dr Kau is on the Panel for most major local insurers. Speak to our team today and we can guide you through the claims process.

10. What is the Recovery after a Hip Replacement?
Patients are able to stand and take steps within 24 hours after surgery. Most patients are able to be comfortably discharged 1 to 2 days after surgery. You will need a walking aid for the first 4-6 weeks as your hip gets progressively stronger. Some hip precautions may be required in the first 3 months. These may include Physiotherapy is important and useful. Return to everyday activities depends your pre-existing condition and surgery required. Your surgeon will discuss with you the best way forward and tailor a recovery plan for you.

11. How long does a Hip Replacement last?
Modern hip implants last an average of 15 years. For our younger patients <55 years of age, the polyethylene component can wear out with time and the construct may require revision and a second replacement later in life.

12. Why choose OrthoKau for your Hip Replacement Surgery?
Dr Kau is an experienced hip and knee surgeon. He is Fellowship Trained and has subspecialty training in Adult Reconstruction surgery which involves primary, complex and revision hip replacement surgery. He has been practicing as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon since 2016. Meet the surgeon here at The Orthopaedic Surgeon