Hip Replacement and Resurfacing

When severe pain from osteoarthritis in both hips threatened to put an end to former Green Beret Scott Ellinger's athletic passions, he turned to UC San Diego Health for help. Read his and other patient's stories.

At UC San Diego Health, our joint replacement surgeons have extensive experience and expertise in total hip replacement. In addition, our fellowship-trained team is frequently called on to perform revision surgery following replacement at other medical centers.

UC San Diego Health is San Diego County’s only Blue Distinction Center+ hospital for hip and knee replacements. The designation from the Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance company is a recognition of our expertise in these procedures, patient outcomes and cost-efficiency.

Types of Hip Replacement and Hip Resurfacing

  • Mini-anterior approach: the incision is made in the front of the hip. This enables the surgeon to reach the joint by separating the muscles rather than cutting them. We perform more anterior hip replacements than any medical center in the region. This type of hip replacement is performed by Krishna Cidambi, MD, and  Francis Gonzales, MD. Read more about anterior hip replacement.
  • Mini-posterior approach: the surgical incision is made at the back of the hip. This allows for direct, minimally invasive access to the hip joint and thigh bone (femur). This type of hip replacement is performed by Scott Ball, MD.
  • Anterolateral approach: the surgical incision is made on the side of the hip. This approach is highly popular in Canada and Europe. This approach is easily revised without additional risk of dislocation. 
  • Hip resurfacing: the "ball" of the hip is reshaped and capped. This approach is not suitable for most people but may be used in younger people with strong bones and few other treatment options. Read more about hip resurfacing.

We use the approach that will give the best result for each patient. Each has potential benefits over traditional hip replacement techniques, including:

  • Faster recovery with less pain
  • Greater stability (full movement and flexibility after surgery)
  • Reduced risk of dislocation
Our team works closely with patients before surgery to ensure they reach their recovery goals. We offer online or in-person classes prior to surgery to help you and your loved ones prepare. 

Pain Management and Rehab

We understand the importance of pain management and post-surgical rehab in your recovery. Our pain specialists are highly involved in your surgery plans, and we practice multimodal pain management to ensure your comfort. We begin rehab shortly after surgery and integrate home-based physical therapy with highly trained therapists into your replacement plan. Read about our orthopedic rehab program.

Outpatient Procedures Available

Hip Replacement Patient Leaves Hours After Surgery

Drew Renick had surgery to replace his hip at 8 a.m. and was able to return home later that afternoon. Read his story.

We offer less invasive surgical techniques, better anesthesia, and better physical therapy. For motivated, active patients, this means they may be able to undergo a hip replacement on an outpatient basis. Patients can start therapy a few hours after surgery, and return home within 24 hours after surgery.

How well you were moving around before surgery — not age — is the best predictor for how quickly you will recover from surgery. The healthier and more active you are, the more you can expect to be up and walking around after hip replacement.  

If you'd like to know whether you're a candidate, call 858-657-8200. Please also mention your interest in outpatient surgery when you schedule an appointment.