What to Expect after a Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery has become so common that it is no longer seen only in older Americans. New advances in the field have made it possible for patients to expect a shorter recovery period, less pain, and fewer complications after surgery, but hip replacement is still not a minor procedure. What should you consider before and after hip replacement surgery to ensure the best results?

Your surgeon will examine you to make sure you are healthy enough for the procedure. You may need blood tests, x-rays, and possibly an MRI. This is a good time to ask your surgeon any questions you have about hip replacement surgery. Make arrangements for someone to help with your recovery. Plan for how you will get around with a cane or a walker and arrange your home so that the things you need are within easy reach and you’ll be able to sit and rest comfortably.

The Procedure
Your surgeon will remove diseased or damaged bone and cartilage from the joint and leave only healthy bone intact. The damaged sections will then be replaced with prosthetic parts made of metal, ceramic, and plastic. Most patients can walk on the very first day with a cane or a walker and you should try to walk while still in the hospital, but do so with supervision, and take care not to do too much too soon.

Most patients stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days, although many patients are able to go home the day of the surgery. Make sure you follow your physician’s guidelines carefully. If you are told to rest, do so. If you are instructed to start physical therapy or strengthening exercises, do them carefully and be ready to report to your physician if you have questions or concerns about pain or stiffness.

Physical Therapy
You should meet with a physical therapist before you leave the hospital who can teach you strengthening and mobility exercises to do at home. It’s crucial that you stay active after your surgery to speed recovery and prevent blood clots. You may be prescribed a blood thinner to reduce the risk of blood clots, and you’ll want to elevate your legs above your heart and wear compression socks. The best exercise for a hip replacement is walking, which you should try to do every hour while you are awake, but be careful to use your cane or walker until you feel comfortable without assistance to avoid falls or injuries.

Activity is the single most important key to recovery from a hip replacement, and the exercises you do to strengthen your hip and keep it mobile will not only determine how quickly you can return to normal activity but also play a major role in the success of the procedure. A physical therapist is a vital part of a successful hip replacement because your therapist will guide you and help you to perform the proper exercises and help track your progress.

If you are considering a hip replacement, contact Move Better to help you prepare and recover for the best possible results! Our therapists have the experience and the skill to make your joint replacement surgery as effective as possible. Call us today at (434) 817-0980 to learn more!