If you will soon need to recover after hip replacement surgery, or any major surgery involving your hip, you should carefully research what will happen, and how to cope, both before and after the operation. How should you prepare for hip surgery? What is recuperation from hip surgery look like? Will you need help after a hip operation? How soon can you return to work or resume normal daily activities?
Your orthopedic surgeon and medical team are the best authorities for specific answers related to your particular health, hip condition, work situation et cetera. The questions below, however, address some common questions and shares tips about hip replacement recovery and rehabilitation.
How can I prepare for hip replacement surgery?
A few health habits can be implemented in advance to ensure a quick and smooth recovery from hip surgery. You can help ensure a smooth and quick recovery if you are considering a hip replacement.
It is a smart idea to build your strength. Stronger upper bodies will make it easier to use crutches and a walker.
After surgery, your mobility and ability for daily activities will be severely reduced. Discuss the need for support after surgery with your loved ones, friends, and caregivers. Make practical changes to your home to ensure that you have easy access to the things that you require.
Safety is also important. Move furniture or remove rugs that make it difficult for you to use crutches/walkers.
What is the best time to return home after a hip-replacement?
Typically, hip surgery patients can walk and go home within a few days. Most people do not need to be bed-bound. Moving your joint can prevent it from becoming stiff.
You might have to stay the night in hospital if you have a preexisting condition, such as a heart condition or lung condition that requires monitoring. Inpatient rehabilitation units are a good option for people who have had complicated surgeries and need support at home.
Do I have to learn how to walk again – what equipment may I need?
Your medical team – including your orthopedic surgeon, physical or occupational therapists, and primary care doctor – will assess whether you need any assistive devices. If you have fallen or that seems likely, you may need a cane, or a walker. However generally not necessary to keep weight off the hip that went through surgery.
How soon will my hip incision heal?
Modern hip replacement surgery incisions are small and closed with absorbable stitches. It takes approximately six weeks for the incision to heal. It is okay to shower during this period, but it is best to wait until the wound heals completely to bathe or swim.
What is the time frame for rehabilitation after hip surgery?
Before the hip replacement surgery, patients will receive physical therapy. Then they will work with a physical trainer right after the surgery to learn and practice muscle strengthening exercises. The rehabilitation process will continue for a few more days following the surgery. Patients will see occupational and physical therapists up to three times per week, and are given exercises to do at home as well.
The first step in rehabilitation is to get used to your daily movements. Next, you will need to practice more difficult tasks like climbing stairs or getting in and out of your car.
These and other tasks are possible only if you have strong muscles. Rehabilitation includes resistance training for the hip muscles and the knee muscles in your legs.
What is the “normal” level of pain following hip replacement surgery?
After hip replacement, there will be some swelling and pain in the joints. This will help to reduce the pain.
- Between therapy sessions, take some time to relax. Ice the leg and the site of your incision.
- Consider taking anti-inflammatory medications, with your doctor’s okay, to help with these symptoms.
- When you lie down, keep your leg higher than your heart.
- Pay attention to your pain levels.
- If your pain levels are at 6 or above (on a 1-10 pain scale), be sure to mention this to your surgeon or primary care doctor. Your pain should gradually decrease as you continue physical therapy.
How long does it take for your hip to heal after a hip replacement surgery?
The average time for hip replacement recovery is between two and four weeks. However, everyone is different. It all depends on several factors such as how active you were prior to surgery, your age and nutrition.
Being active and in good shape before surgery can make it easier to recover faster and return to your usual activities. Prehabilitation (or prehab) is a term used by physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons to help patients become physically fit before they undergo surgery.
What is the best time to resume my regular activities following a hip replacement surgery?
Physical therapy’s goal is to help you get back to your daily life. The amount of physical activity required to complete a task will determine the time it takes to accomplish that task.
Driving: It may take up to one month for you to be able again to drive safely after having surgery on your right hip. You might be able to drive again in a matter of weeks if it was your left hip. You can start in a parking lot, then move slowly to rural roads and eventually to the highway. You might not be able to drive again if you are taking medications that can impair coordination.
Work: You can return to work in two weeks if you have a desk job that requires little activity. It is recommended that you take off six weeks for any job that requires heavy lifting, or is otherwise difficult on your hips.
Sports: You can return to sports that require little activity like golf when you feel at ease. You should wait six weeks for contact sports that have high-impact. You should wait six weeks for the incision to heal completely before you can get into a pool.
Sex: You can go back to sexual activity at any time you feel like it, as long as you can do so comfortably.
What factors slow recovery from hip surgery?
There are always complications with any surgery, even major ones like a hip replacement. These complications can include infection at the incision, bone fractures, and hip dislocations.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain, such as fever, swelling, or difficulty moving your hips, or if your medication isn’t working.
Rehab should be done at a steady pace. Avoiding sudden movements and sharp movements may help to prevent falls and dislocations that can delay recovery.
How long can my hip replacement implant last before it needs to be replaced?
Modern hip prosthetics, unlike older metal implants, are made from a mixture of metal, plastic, and ceramic parts. They are stronger and more resistant than older ones. These implants are durable and can last for up to 30 years. There is little chance of them failing or needing to be re-done.
What is the best time to wait before I replace my other hip?
There are some cases where it is beneficial to replace both hips simultaneously (a double-hip replacement). A double hip replacement may be safer for those with severe arthritis in both of their hips.
A double hip replacement decreases the chance of complications associated with anesthesia. The recovery process is quicker but can take twice as long because both legs must be strengthened simultaneously. You might also find it more difficult to move around the house at first, so you may need more help at home.
To reduce the risk of blood clots, it is better to wait at most six weeks before having two hip replacements.
The hip replacement procedure is one of most successful in medicine. The effectiveness of total hip replacement surgery has increased dramatically since the 1960s thanks to improvements in joint replacement technology and surgical techniques. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that more than 450,000 total hip repairs are performed annually in the United States.