Lateral Hip Replacement: From Surgery to Rehabilitation

Lateral Hip Replacement: Comprehensive Surgery to Rehab Guide


Lateral hip replacement surgery is a transformative procedure aimed at providing pain relief and improved mobility to individuals suffering from hip joint afflictions. Among various surgical approaches, lateral hip replacement stands out as a significant technique. This method uses a lateral approach, meaning the incision is made on the side of the hip rather than the front (anterior) or back (posterior).

The lateral approach allows orthopedic surgeons direct access to the hip joint without cutting through major muscle groups, such as the gluteus medius and maximus. Preservation of these muscles can potentially lead to a quicker lateral hip replacement recovery time and less pain post-surgery. The surgical technique also mitigates the risk of dislocations, a concern with traditional approaches.

Opting for a lateral approach can affect the soft tissues differently compared to anterolateral or posterior approaches, which is why it’s essential to discuss with an experienced surgeon the best route for each case.

Overall, the lateral hip replacement could be a manageable and less invasive surgery option for patients, with the added benefit of a potentially faster return to normal activities aided by physical therapy. Read this article to learn more about what is lateral hip replacement and the rehabilitation process if someone goes with the procedure.

Anatomy of the Hip Joint

The hip joint is a marvel of human anatomy, acting as a pivotal connection between the lower limb and the pelvis. At its core, this ball-and-socket structure encompasses the head of the femur (thighbone) articulating with the acetabulum, a cup-like cavity in the pelvic bone.

Abductor muscles, crucial for stabilizing the hip during walking, converge at this joint. The major players include the gluteus medius and minimus, positioned laterally to assist in the abduction and medial rotation of the thigh. Complementing them is the gluteus maximus, a powerhouse for extension and outward rotation of the hip joint.

Supporting this dynamic joint is a network of soft tissues—ligaments, tendons, and muscles—ensuring stability and facilitating a range of hip movements. The intricate makeup of the hip facilitates weight-bearing functions and complex mobility, making it essential for everyday activities.

A healthy hip joint is vital for maintaining an active and pain-free lifestyle. Understanding its anatomy helps appreciate the complexities involved in procedures like hip replacements, where precision is paramount to preserve these functions.

Common Conditions Leading to Lateral Hip Replacement

Common Conditions Leading to Lateral Hip Replacement

Many individuals face deteriorating hip conditions that can significantly affect mobility and quality of life. These ailments often necessitate considering lateral hip replacement surgery as a treatment option. Below are some of the common medical issues that may lead to the recommendation for hip replacement surgery through lateral approaches.


Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent cause of hip discomfort that leads to replacement surgery. It is a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip joint wears away over time. Patients with osteoarthritis typically experience joint stiffness, reduced mobility, and chronic pain. As the condition progresses, the protective space between bones decreases, resulting in bone-on-bone contact and increased pain, thereby making surgery a considerable option for pain relief and restoring function.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition characterized by inflammation of the joint lining. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is a wear-and-tear disease, rheumatoid arthritis affects the synovial membrane, leading to swelling and pain. Over time, this inflammation can damage the cartilage and bone within the joint, often necessitating a hip replacement to alleviate symptoms and improve joint function.

Hip Fractures

Hip fractures, particularly those that damage the blood supply to the femur head, may lead to incongruencies in the hip joint. Most commonly occurring in older adults due to falls or other injuries, these fractures may not always heal properly, even with the best nonsurgical treatments. Consequently, a hip replacement may be the optimal solution to relieve pain and restore mobility, especially when conservative treatments fail to provide relief. Lateral hip replacement provides an alternative approach to address these fractures, promoting quicker recovery through muscle-sparing techniques.

Each of these conditions profoundly impacts the hip joint’s integrity and functionality. Hip replacement surgery through lateral approaches can offer a substantial improvement in life quality for patients suffering from these debilitating hip issues.

Preparation Tips for Hip Replacement Surgery

To prepare for hip replacement surgery, consider the following tips:

  • Medical Evaluation: Consult with your orthopedic surgeon for a preoperative medical examination to ensure you’re fit for surgery.
  • Home Preparation: Rearrange furniture for easier post-surgery navigation. Remove trip hazards and ensure a comfortable recovery spot.
  • Meal Planning: Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time to reduce cooking post-surgery.
  • Post-Op Care Plan: Arrange for someone to help with daily tasks, and consider physical therapy logistics.
  • Medication Review: Discuss current medications with your doctor; some may require adjustments before surgery.
  • Exercise: Follow prescribed pre-surgery exercises to strengthen muscles around the hip for a smoother recovery.
  • Fasting: Follow specific instructions about fasting from your surgical team.
  • Pack Essentials: Prepare a hospital bag with necessary items like identification, insurance information, and personal care products.

By following these preparation tips, you can help ensure a smoother surgery and quicker recovery.

Day Before Surgery

As you approach the day before your lateral hip replacement surgery, it’s critical to adhere to the preoperative instructions given by your orthopedic surgeon to pave the way for a successful procedure and minimize the risk of complications. Here’s what you should expect and do:

  1. Confirm Surgery Details:
    • Triple-check your surgery time.
    • Confirm the hospital or surgery center location.
  2. Fasting:
    • Typically, no food or drink past midnight; your surgical team will provide exact guidelines.
  3. Medication Management:
    • Follow instructions on which medications to take or avoid.
  4. Preparation for Hospital Stay:
    • Pack any last-minute items in your hospital bag.
  5. Skin Preparation:
    • Some surgeons advise an antiseptic shower to reduce infection risk.
  6. Relaxation:
    • Engage in calming activities to ease pre-surgery anxiety.

By meticulously following these steps, you lay the groundwork for a smoother surgical experience and set the stage for a more rapid return to your daily routine post-surgery.

Rehabilitation After Hip Replacement Surgery

old woman life after hip surgery, wearing orange sleeve

Rehabilitation after hip replacement surgery is a key component in achieving a successful recovery and reaching your mobility goals. A well-structured rehabilitation program, typically managed by a physical therapist, focuses on restoring function and strength to your hip joint and surrounding muscles. Here’s a breakdown of some lateral hip replacement precautions that you need to observe during the recovery process:

Rehabilitation Timeline:

  • Immediately Post-Surgery: Physical therapy may begin within a day after surgery to promote circulation and prevent blood clots.
  • First Few Weeks: Exercises will aim to improve your range of motion and support the healing of soft tissues.
  • One to Six Months: Gradual introduction of more challenging exercises to strengthen the hip and abductor muscles.

Adherence to a personalized rehabilitation plan is crucial. It typically includes a combination of controlled physical activities and guided exercises, ensuring a quicker recovery and effective pain relief after hip replacement surgery. Regular follow-ups with your orthopedic surgeon will also assess progress and adapt your rehabilitation plan as necessary.

Timely Medical: Your Trusted Partner for Lateral Hip Replacement

Timely Medical is your trusted partner when it comes to lateral hip replacement, a cutting-edge option for those seeking relief from hip pain and mobility issues. Our expert team of orthopedic surgeons excels in performing this less invasive approach, which offers numerous benefits.

In evaluating the merits of the lateral approach for hip replacement surgery, Timely Medical stands as a beacon of innovation and patient care in the orthopedic domain. The surgical technique employed by our adept surgeons minimizes soft tissue and abductor muscle disruption, fostering a favorable environment for recovery.

The lateral hip replacement performed by Timely Medical’s single surgeon team is geared toward those who value a less invasive approach coupled with a commitment to quicker recovery and long-term outcomes. We employ a patient-centric philosophy, ensuring that each patient is guided with care, expertise, and the latest in hip approach innovation for a more comfortable journey to wellness. If you or someone you know needs private hip replacement in Calgary, or even private hip surgery in Vancouver, or any other nearby city, do not hesitate to reach out to us.


Lateral hip replacement surgery offers a promising path to pain relief and improved functionality for individuals suffering from debilitating hip conditions. Its utilization of a lateral approach minimizes muscle disruption and reduces the risk of dislocations, providing a potentially quicker recovery and enhanced post-surgery comfort. With advancements in surgical techniques and rehabilitation protocols, lateral hip replacement is becoming a preferred option for patients seeking a less invasive and muscle-sparing approach to hip joint restoration.


What is the rehab protocol after a hip replacement?

The rehabilitation protocol following a hip replacement is a structured program that typically begins shortly after surgery. The goal is to promote healing, strengthen the hip joint, and restore mobility. The rehab protocol often includes gentle exercises under the guidance of a physical therapist, which may start as soon as the day of surgery. Patients will progressively increase activities to include walking, stretching, and strengthening exercises, with milestones set by their orthopedic surgeon and physical therapy team.

What is the rehabilitation process for a hip replacement?

Rehabilitation after a hip replacement involves several phases, customized to each patient’s needs and response to surgery. Initially, the focus is on pain relief and reducing inflammation. This is followed by a period of regaining range of motion and strength in the hip. Patients are typically instructed on specific exercises to perform at home or in a physical therapy facility. The process involves regular assessments to ensure optimal recovery and adjust the program as needed.

How many times a day should I do exercises after hip replacement?

The frequency of exercises after a hip replacement can vary based on individual recovery plans and surgeon recommendations. Generally, patients may be advised to perform exercises two to four times a day. Such exercises may include ankle pumps, knee bends, and thigh squeezes to encourage blood flow and prevent stiffness. Consistency and adherence to the prescribed regimen are crucial for a quicker recovery and successful outcome.

About The Author

Christian Baker

Christian was born in a Group Health hospital in Washington state and holds both American & Canadian citizenship. Christian is the head of our diagnostic & ambulatory surgery department for our Canadian…

Google Reviews