Some patients have degenerative problems in both hips and, with their surgeon's guidance, may consider having both hips replaced at the same time. This is called bilateral total hip replacement. It may also be referred to as simultaneous total hip replacement.
The advantages of bilateral total hip replacement can include one trip to the operating room instead of two, one anesthetic and therefore one hospitalization. Patients who are employed may find that they need less time off from work overall than if they were to recover from two hip replacements on two different occasions.
Risks can be increased however as the surgical blood loss is greater and the surgery as well as the anesthesia are more prolonged - two to four hours as opposed to one to two hours for a single total hip. Hospital length of stay is longer with a bilateral total hip replacement and a higher proportion of patients require transfer to inpatient rehabilitation facilities after bilateral surgeries.
Most bilateral total hip candidates are younger, more active, healthy and motivated to participate in the more rigorous postoperative therapy required. An obvious requirement is that the patient have severe limiting pain in both hips due to degenerative joint disease. The surgeon and patient's primary care physician must agree that the patient is a safe and suitable candidate for surgery on both hips simultaneously.