In a previous blog, we talked about how to prepare for hip replacement surgery. A lot goes into the preparation process – from learning about the procedure, to increasing your strength prior to surgery, to asking your primary care physician pertinent questions.
But recovery is just as important.
The uncertainty of the recovery period can be nerve-racking. Although no two patients are exactly alike, knowing what to expect, during the recovery period after hip replacement surgery, can help ease your mind.
Often, you’ll have a bit of an extended stay at the hospital – typically four to six days. During this time you’ll receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics the day after surgery and receive medications to help ease the pain and to prevent blood clots from that point until you’re discharged.
Physical therapy usually begins the day after your procedure and will continue for weeks to months depending on your progress following the surgery. The total rehabilitation time usually lasts at least six months.
You’ll most likely depend on a walker, cane or crutches for several weeks when walking.
Your doctor will also provide you with a list of precautions to help keep your hip from dislocating post-surgery. This list includes but is not limited to the following:
- Do not bend over more than 90 degrees. Avoid bending down to tie your shoes for a while.
- Do not raise your knee higher than your hip.
- Do not cross your legs.
- Avoid sitting on low chairs or beds.
- Be extra cautious as you get in and out of bed or a car. Be sure that your leg doesn’t cross the imaginary line that’s in the middle of your body.
- Do not lean forward while you are sitting down or as you sit down or stand up.
Speak to your doctor if you want to learn more about what sort of movements to avoid following surgery.
Once you are released from the hospital, you will be advised to pay close attention to your body and monitor the surgery site as well as your general health. If redness or drainage from your wound should occur, immediately contact your surgeon. You might also be advised to take your temperature two times a day and inform your surgeon if you have a fever greater than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, there are simple steps (not literal ones, of course – you should keep your steps at a minimum) that can be taken to help make life easier once you return home after hip replacement surgery.
Some examples of these steps include:
- Making necessary arrangements prior to surgery that will only require you to go up and down stairs no more than once or twice a day.
- To avoid falls, consider removing all throw rugs and keep floors and walking paths clutter-free.
- Sit in a firm, straight-back chair. Avoid sitting in recliners.
This blog offered only a brief summary of hip replacement surgery recovery, but it’s important to know that the recovery period requires a lot of hard work. To ease the recovery process, be mindful of these tips and adhere to the guidelines that are prescribed by your physical therapist and surgeon.
As always, contact your doctor with any questions or if an issue should arise.