Preparing for your total hip replacement
Preparation begins prior to your admission to hospital. Your surgeon will discuss your surgery and what to expect.
Arrangements should be made in advance to prepare for your recovery including:
- Ensuring your home is free from tripping hazards,
- Ensuring regularly used items are easily accessible,
- Arranging to have someone at home with you or to check in on you when you are discharged.
- A referral to the readmission service at the hospital you are having your surgery at can be very useful in helping you plan your discharge following your stay.
Your surgeon may refer you to have: routine blood tests and other investigations prior to your surgery. A rehabilitation physiotherapy review to ensure you are as fit as possible prior to your surgery.A review by a peri-operative physician, if you have medical problems that need to be managed around the time of your surgery.
You will be given instructions regarding your medications and it is important you follow these. These may include:
- Cease blood thinning medication such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications up to 7 days prior to your surgery
- Cease naturopathic or herbal medications 7 days prior to your surgery
Certain lifestyle risk factors can slow your healing following your surgery. In preparation for your recovery aim to:
- Eat healthy
- Quit smoking
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Reduce weight if overweight (follow medical advice on safe exercise prior to and following surgery)
Remember to bring your x-rays with you to hospital.
Following your surgery, you will usually remain in hospital for up to 5 days. In this time, you can expect to have a compression pump on your calves or feet to help prevent clotting (DVT). You will have ice regularly applied to your hip. Once your vital signs are stable and you have regained movement and sensation in your lower extremities, your physiotherapist will assist you to sit at the edge of the bed, stand and walk.
You will receive pain medication orally and if needed through your IV after surgery. You will also receive IV antibiotics, blood thinning medication to help prevent clots (DVT), and medication to help prevent nausea and constipation.
On discharge, you will be given an appointment to see your surgeon as an outpatient. You will also need to continue physiotherapy as instructed.
Post operation precautions
Your prosthetic hip must be treated with care. To avoid dislocation adhere to the following instructions:
- Avoid low chairs where your hips are lower than your knees. An elevated toilet seat is often required after hip surgery.
- Avoid bending to pick things up. Grabbers are helpful as are shoe horns or slip on shoes
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs for 6 weeks.
- Avoid crossing your legs and bending your hip past a right angle
- Sutures are usually dissolvable but if not will be removed 10-14 days after surgery.
- Your surgeon will give you advice about when it is okay to commence showering and bathing.
- Avoid applying creams or lotions to the wound once the wound unless directed by your surgeon.
- Hydrotherapy can commence once your surgeon is happy that your wound has healed (generally 4-6 weeks following surgery).
- If you are having procedures such as dental work or other surgery, you should consult your surgeon who may recommend you take antibiotics before and after your procedure to prevent infection in your new prosthesis. All non essential dental work should be avoided for 3 months following your joint replacement surgery.
- Driving can generally recommence 6 weeks following surgery
- Your new prosthesis may cause the metal detector to alarm at airports. A letter from your surgeon is generally not required prior to travel.
- Your surgeon will continue to follow your progress and how you and your new joint is functioning as time passes. Regular reviews and X-rays will be performed to ensure that you are performing well.