While the success rate of total hip replacement is very high and patient satisfaction is in excess of 90%, complications can occur. Some of the early complications following hip replacement include inflection, deep venous thrombosis, and dislocation. The rate of dislocation as, reported in Medicare data, can be as high as 3.8%. Most large series of joint replacements done by specialists in joint replacement have a dislocation rate in the 1% to 2% range. The causes of dislocation are multifactorial. They can include the type of implant used, the position of the implants, the activity of the patient, and the type of approach utilized. Traditionally, posterior approaches to the hip have had a somewhat higher dislocation rate, but with the advent of capsular repair and the use of larger heads, the dislocation rate as a result of the posterior approach, has decreased. The anterior approach has had a lower rate of dislocation, as the majority of dislocations following hip replacement are posterior and an anterior approach preserves the posterior soft tissue of the hip. If a hip dislocates in the early postoperative period, most often it can be reduced with sedation and/or a general anesthetic. However, once a dislocation occurs there is a 30% risk of recurrent dislocation. If a patient has multiple dislocations then it is possible that revision surgery will be necessary and the overall success rate for recurrent dislocation is approximately 60%. Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest to minimize the risk factors for dislocation.

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  1. Debra Behrens

    My sister had a total hip replacement last summer and her hip has now dislocated twice. she is going to see another surgeon to get a second opinion and find out about options. Her surgeon indicated that the odds of it happening the second time were almost non-existent but this blog indicates that it will probably happen more often now. Any other advice? Thanks.

  2. Cindy Le Fevre

    I had a total hip replacement in November. After 5 dislocations (2 in Feb and 3 in April), my surgeon did a revision of the artificial hip. Seven weeks later, it dislocated again.

    I would like a recommendation for a 2nd opinion. Can you recommend someone who specializes in this?

    Thank you.

  3. Veletta Martindale

    My husband broke his hip in 2009. He had a total hip replacement in July, 29. We found out then that his hip had never healed although we had been told countless times that it had. My husband is very independent and stupid. He has had numerous strokes in the past one left his right side weak. He was up and walking when his hip broke. He has been wheelchair bound sense. His hip has become dislocated twice sense the surgery not even a month ago. I believe it is because he hasn’t followed hip precautions. His hip was found to be dislocated yesterday. He has alienated his ortho surgeon. I am at my wits end. What are our options? Thanking you in advance for your advice.

  4. Dr. William Barrett

    Dear Veletta,
    Dislocation of a total hip after a previous fracture is more common than in patients treated for osteoarthritis. Patients who have had strokes and subsequent weakness have a higher rate of dislocations. There are options to help your husband. You should seek out an orthopedic surgeon who performs revision total hips and see them in consultation about what to do.
    William Barrett