Specialist Hip Unit

Hip replacements are one of the most common elective surgical procedures in Britain. We speak with the team behind the new dedicated Hip Unit at Circle Bath hospital to find out more.

Matthew Burwell, the surgeon in charge of Circle Bath’s Hip Unit, has just finished his fifth hip replacement of the week.

He explains that he and his fellow hip surgeons working at the hospital undertake in the region of 250 procedures each every year.

Hip problems can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life; however, many people put off speaking to their GP or a medical practitioner because the whole process is often an unknown. Taking away the ‘unknown’, by ensuring that any question a patient may have is answered by an expert, is the biggest advantage of the Hip Unit at Circle Bath.

So what exactly is a Hip Unit? “The Hip Unit is a team of specialist hip surgeons, nurses and physiotherapists whose focus is treating all hip conditions and providing the highest level of support to patients choosing to have, in most cases, elective surgery.”

For a patient choosing to have a hip replacement, it is a very different experience than going to a hospital for health-related problems so the choice of where to have a procedure done, as well as when to have it, is important. Circle Bath has produced an in-depth guide for patients considering surgery. This 65-page booklet contains a step-by-step description of the operation, answers a range of related questions, and includes illustrations of exercises that form part of any rehabilitation plan, helping patients to prepare themselves both physically and mentally.

Rapid recovery is a term which comes up frequently when talking to specialist physiotherapists.

With immediate post-operative recovery taking place, first in the recovery areas and then in one of the hospital’s well appointed, private bedrooms, complete with an en-suite and, in most cases a striking view of the countryside, as well as organic meals cooked by the head chef, it’s a surprise that patients ever want to leave.

A lot of patients ask what else they can do to support their recovery once they leave the hospital. Physiotherapy sessions are an integral part of rehabilitation; however, we have also created an optional exercise programme to help patients’ return to a more active lifestyle.

This six-week programme, which is overseen by a physiotherapist, conducted in classes of no more than six people, begins with hydrotherapy as soon as the wound is healed, and has been extremely well received.
The biggest advantage of the Hip Unit, the hip consultants conclude, is that “by introducing a comprehensive programme of treatment and care which provides knowledge and flexibility, it puts the patient in charge of what can be a life-changing experience.”

With around 50,000 carried out each year, hip replacements are one of the most common elective surgical procedures in Britain.

How it works:

1. Your GP or physiotherapist will refer you to Matthew Burwell to discuss options.
2. If you choose to have surgery you can arrange to have the procedure whenever you want – it could be as soon as a few days after meeting with the specialist.
3. Once your procedure is booked you will receive an information guide which explains the procedure and rehabilitation programme in detail.
4. Before the operation, you will need a pre-assessment (which takes about an hour)to check your general health and wellbeing.
5. The operation itself takes approximately two hours. After being monitored in the recovery area for a couple of hours, you will then be moved into your private bedroom.
6. Post-operation physiotherapy generally begins the day after the operation and in many cases patients will be ready to return home, armed with a recovery programme, after three days.
7. A full recovery plan, which on average takes about 12 weeks, will enable you to build strength and return to normal everyday activities.