Hip Replacement: What to Expect After Surgery

Hip replacement is one of the most invasive surgeries – with one of the longest recovery times. Life after surgery will be mostly like your life before surgery – only with a few precautions. Best of all, however, is that you won’t be living with the same excruciating pain and discomfort that warranted the pain to begin with. Hip replacement surgery is a necessary procedure – and quite common – in people with severe sports injuries, wear and tear on the joints, or to alleviate the discomfort from arthritis. In a hip replacement surgery, all or part of the hip joint is removed and replace with a prosthetic. Here is what to expect after surgery.

For the first couple of days you want to rest and stay off your feet. As the anesthetic starts to wear off, you will be a little bit like a newborn fawn – wobbling to get your bearings. You might spend the first few days in the hospital, but when you come home it is important to start resuming your regular activities as soon as possible, because this is important to the healing process. Plus, you want to get used to your new hip.

Furthermore, whether you remain in the hospital or you arrive home after your surgery, you will need moderate physical therapy. Physical therapy is important to get not only your legs moving again, but also your body. Because of the medications you will be taking – either to combat infection or to fight the pain – you might feel slight nausea or queasiness after your surgery. This is all normal and you should expect that all the physical side effects from the medication will subside after about ten days. However, you might also experience loss of appetite and some restlessness – this will subside too.

And whether you’ve had direct anterior approach or minimally invasive surgery – which depends on how severe the damage is – you might spend more or less time in the hospital. If you suffered from more extreme damage and needed a full hip replacement, you can expect to spend at least ten days in the hospital for recovery. With a minimally invasive surgery you can expect to spend about three to four days in the hospital. Your orthopedic surgeon should be able to consult with you to decide how long your recovery should be.

Lastly, when you finally arrive home it is important to prepare your surroundings. For instance, you won’t necessarily want to reach for items around your house, so it might be wise to bring everything closer to you. If you have a second floor you might want to move to the first floor, especially if you have to constantly move up and down the stairs. In addition, you want to get rid of any falling hazards, which include floors that are too slippery, rugs, and electrical wires. You might also want to install handles in your bath or shower, because the last thing you want when you are recovering from a hip replacement surgery is to slip and fall in the shower.