What To Expect After Having Hip Replacement Surgery

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If you have arthritis in one or both of your hips and the pain is making your life difficult, it may be time to discuss a hip replacement. A hip replacement removes your damaged joint and replaces it with a synthetic joint so you become free from pain. This allows you to be more active and resume activities you love. Here's what you'll want to know about having this type of surgery.

You'll Need Help For A Few Weeks After Surgery

Depending on your general health and how well you tolerate the surgery, you might go home the same day you have surgery. If so, you'll need to have arrangements made in advance for friends and relatives to help you once you get home because there are many things you won't be able to do for yourself.

If your medical condition warrants it, you may need to stay overnight or a day or two in the hospital before you go home. If you don't have people who can help you during your recovery, your doctor might refer you to a skilled nursing facility where you can be supervised while you recover and take daily physical therapy.

Physical Therapy Is Important For Recovery

Your doctor may want you to start physical therapy before your hip replacement surgery so you'll be familiar with what you need to do afterward. Your therapist will probably visit you again before you go home to reinforce what you need to do. The therapist may make home visits, or you might go to physical therapy as an outpatient during the initial part of your recovery.

Physical therapy is important since your muscles may be weak and need to be strengthened with exercise. Plus, your hip joint needs to move so it maintains a full range of motion and you have maximum flexibility. The physical therapist also teaches you how to get out of bed and walk around with a cane or walker so you're safe at home.

You May Have Pain For A Few Days

When you have hip replacement surgery, you'll have general or spinal anesthesia so you won't feel any pain during the procedure. As you wake up from surgery, you may receive IV pain medication. Your doctor will send you home with pain medication so you stay comfortable. Your pain improves as the days pass and healing is underway.

Your pain level will tell you when you may resume some of your usual activities. Your doctor will probably encourage you to start walking the same day if possible and resume movement as you can tolerate it so you can prevent blood clots. However, you'll need to wait until you've been cleared to drive, play sports, and go back to work since these activities depend on how well you've healed.

For more information about hip replacement, talk with a doctor.