Hip Problems

Highgate Hip Unit

The Highgate Hip Unit utilises a collaborative team approach to diagnose and treat conditions, injuries and problems of the hip.  You’ll have access to London’s leading Consultant Hip Surgeons, Sports & Exercise Medicine Consultants, Pain Management Consultants, Chartered Physiotherapists, and specialist MSK Radiologists.

We are equipped with two state-of-the-art theatres fitted with laminar flow systems for specialist Orthopaedic procedures. Our highly skilled theatre and nursing staff are on hand to support throughout your procedure and recovery, providing you with first-class care.

Services & Treatments

At the Highgate Hip Unit, our Consultants and Specialists can treat many types of hip pain, injuries, problems and conditions. Whether you are suffering from chronic hip pain or a sports injury, our Consultants and Specialists are here to help.

Hip Problems & Treatments

Hip Pain

The hip is an important joint as it controls a range of movements, such as stretching and bending. It also supports the body during walking, standing and running. The joint consists of a ball and a socket which are connected by bands known as ligaments; these are lubricated to guard against friction. Cartilage surrounds the joint and helps to stop the bones from rubbing together.

What can cause hip pain?

Although injuries can be the root cause of hip pain, arthritis can also be a problem. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage inside a hip joint wears away, so the bones rub against each other. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the lining of the joint which results in pain and stiffness in the hip.

Non-surgical options

Medication can help with hip pain and there is a range of options available, including steroid injections, pain-relieving gels and creams as well as anti-inflammatory drugs. There are also drugs specifically aimed at tackling the immune system, which can help with rheumatoid arthritis – these are known as disease-modifying medications.

Physiotherapy can be very effective in tackling symptoms, as it strengthens the muscles which surround the joint, therefore improving flexibility, maintaining a range of movements and decreasing inflammation. It is also very important in rehabilitation after injury or an operation.


Modern medicine offers two surgical options:

A hip arthroscopy – is effective in treating an impinged hip. It corrects damaged cartilage by using a key-hole technique. In some cases, it can stop osteoarthritis from developing.

Hip replacement – is considered when a hip joint is severely damaged or worn out and non-invasive alternatives have failed to reduce pain. It is not a lengthy operation as it normally takes between an hour and an hour and a half. The worn-out joint is removed and replaced with one made from artificial material. After the operation, it is normal to stay in the hospital for up to a week and sticks or crutches are used for a few weeks thereafter. Exercise and physiotherapy are very important in the recovery process. Artificial hips do wear out over time but this depends on the material used; your surgeon will advise you on the best option for your needs.

Hip Replacement

If your hip joint is severely damaged and non-invasive alternatives have been unsuccessful, then hip replacement surgery can reduce pain and help you to be more mobile.


During the operation, which uses one of several anaesthetic techniques and normally takes between 60 and 90 minutes, your damaged joint will be removed through a cut in your side and replaced with an artificial one. Your new hip may be made from metal, plastic or ceramic, and may be secured with acrylic cement or a special covering.


After the operation, it is normal to stay in the hospital for 3-5 nights, and you may need to use sticks or crutches for the next few weeks. Exercise and physiotherapy will help you to recover as quickly as possible but do check with your consultant.

This type of surgery experiences good success rates, and you should expect to feel less pain and enjoy better movement once you have recovered from the operation. However, you should still take care of your new hip because, like real hips, they will eventually show signs of wear and tear.

Anterior Hip Replacement (AHR)

Total Hip Replacement (or ‘Arthroplasty’) is one of the most common, and indeed most reliable, surgical interventions around today. This procedure involves the removal of the ‘ball and socket’ elements of the hip joint, and substitution with prosthetic replacements. This may be indicated following a fracture of the hip or in cases where someone has a lot of problems with the hip joint, such as pain or reduced mobility, which affects their day-to-day living.

Here at Highgate Private Hospital, we offer an innovative approach to hip replacements that are undertaken by our specialist surgeon Mr Simon Mellor. Most commonly, access to the hip joint during surgery is gained through the side of the thigh (lateral approach) or from the buttock region (posterior approach). A new and innovative technique, the ‘anterior approach’ aims to access the joint from the front of the hip. This approach does not require any muscles to be cut to get access to the bony part of the joint itself, and this can confer many benefits:

  • A smaller incision means you will have a much smaller scar in comparison to other approaches
  • Eliminated muscle injury gaining access to the joint
  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Faster recovery period after the operation
  • Quicker rehabilitation to get you back on your feet
  • Potentially reduced risk of dislocation of the new hip joint

Mr Simon Mellor is an experienced Orthopaedic Surgeon, and the only consultant who currently performs Anterior Hip Replacements here at Highgate Private Hospital:

“Having converted to doing anterior approach muscle-sparing hip replacement about 5 years ago, I have only received positive feedback from my patients. I have noted a reduction in postoperative pain levels and quicker recovery times, with many patients walking unaided within 24 hours of surgery. Patients require less post-operative pain medication and can mobilise without anxiety. 

The technique offers the ability to replace the hip joint without cutting or detaching any muscles or tendons, and this has obvious potential benefits. Hip replacement is perceived as a major operation. With this technique, at least some of the risks can be minimised.”


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. 

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Hip Problems Consultants

Are you insured?

We welcome patients with private medical insurance and are approved by all major insurers, including Bupa and AXA PPP.

Find out more
Not insured?

We offer a variety of fixed price Self-Pay Packages for those considering paying for their own treatment.

Find out more