sportsmed spotlight on: Hip replacements

The world-renowned team of healthcare practitioners at orthopaedic clinic and hospital, sportsmed are passionate about helping patients feel their best.

Meet Dr Tom Gieroba

Dr Tom Gieroba is an Australian-trained orthopaedic surgeon, specialising in preventative care, treatment and rehabilitation for a range of hip and knee ailments, injuries and conditions. 

He has a particular interest in joint replacement, trauma and fracture management and sports-related knee injuries. Trained in robotic surgical techniques, including robotic-arm assisted surgery with the Mako surgical robot, Dr Gieroba is able to offer his patients expert advice and a range of treatment options. 

When not at work, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids. He also enjoys tennis and is part of sportsmed’s running club.


When the smooth cartilage in a hip joint wears out and causes pain and stiffness, it’s called hip arthritis or osteoarthritis. 


A hip replacement involves removing the diseased ball and socket joint and replacing it with prosthetic components. When the damaged parts of the hip are removed and replaced, the artificial joint relieves hip pain, stiffness and improves movement. The new components are held in position with special bone cement or are pressed into the bone. The uncemented components have a surface finish that encourages the bone to grow onto the prosthesis.


There are three common approaches, or ‘doors’, each with pros and cons to consider: 

1. The front door (Direct anterior approach)

The anterior approach has been rising in popularity. It’s a less invasive approach which goes between muscles rather than splitting muscles.

2. The back door (Posterior approach)

The posterior approach is the most common approach in Australia and provides good exposure to the joint. It involves splitting the gluteus maximus and detaching the small muscles at the back of the hip. 

2. The side door (Lateral approach)

This is the least common approach. It involves splitting the gluteus maximus but also the abductor muscles (gluteus medius and minimus). These muscles are very important for balance and trunk stability during walking.

It’s important to note that one size does not fit all. The ‘best’ approach is one tailored to the individual; based on their size, build, bone quality & complexity. Regarding recovery, after 6 weeks to 3 months post-op, there’s no significant difference between approaches, provided they’ve been done well. Your surgeon will discuss the most appropriate approach for you prior to surgery.


No one NEEDS a hip replacement; it’s an elective procedure. When hip pain affects the quality of a person’s life, keeps them up at night or heavy-duty pain medication is being used, it’s time to consider surgery.


While each patient’s recovery will differ, generally you can expect the following:

  • You may be up and walking even as soon as the day of the procedure as this helps to improve mobility. 
  • Your hospital stay can last anywhere from one to five nights depending on your mobility and pain.
  • You can expect to be using some sort of frame, stick or crutches for between 2-6 weeks.
  • If recovery goes to plan you should be back driving by approximately six weeks.


All joint replacements in Australia are recorded and followed on the National Joint Replacement Registry (which now follows more than 1.8 million joint replacements!), based at SAHMRI. According to the Registry, 91.6% of hip replacements in Australia have not been re-operated on after 20 years and 89% of patients are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their hip replacements.

Please keep in mind that treatment methods and outcomes vary between patients. Each individual patient has specialised requirements.

sportsmed is an industry leading healthcare provider with a private orthopaedic hospital and specialist clinics across a number of locations, offering patients access to modern and innovative healthcare in state-of-the-art facilities.

A referral from your GP is required to make an appointment with Dr Gieroba or any of sportsmed’s Orthopaedic surgeons.

Stepney Healthcare Hub · Blackwood · Henley Beach · Morphett Vale · Mitcham


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