What You Can Expect After Your Hip Replacement Surgery

A hip replacement, full or partial, is a major medical procedure. As with many surgeries, the post-op process is often just as important as the operation itself. When considering hip replacement surgery, it's important to understand what occurs after the surgery, and how it can affect your day-to-day life.

Immediately After Surgery – The Not So Pretty Part

Immediately after surgery, you will likely not have the luxury of movement. Your hip will sit in a precise position, braced by a device for that purpose, such as a compression stocking, and pillows.

Monitors will actively report your vitals such as pulse and blood pressure. You may also find yourself with a catheter, and drain tubes coming from the point of incision.

You may also have IVs to give you back any fluids you lost during the surgery. In addition, you may require IVs to administer pain medication. You may also be carted off for x-rays.

Notice the liberal use of the word "may." Depending on the type of surgery, and the technique used, different procedures can come into play immediately afterwards.

The First Few Days After Surgery – It Gets Better

On either the first day, or the following day, you will start to learn a few things. You will learn,

  • How to move your feet to keep the blood circulating
  • How to breathe to keep down lung congestion
  • How to move without disturbing your hip

It's also possible that you will have the ability to sit up on your own around the second day. For those that recover quickly, it's possible to stand and even walk with assistance somewhere around the third day.

At that point, you will likely learn some physical therapy techniques to help strengthen the muscles around the prosthetic. The good news is after a few days, you can usually go home. However, your recovery is nowhere near complete. There's more.

The Next Few Months – Mobility With Restraint

Your stay at the hospital will likely last less than a week. After that, you will continue your treatment from home. Your doctor will give you specific instructions, and you should follow them to the letter.

You will also have to continue with physical therapy and a regular exercise regimen. During the early days, you will need a walker, cane or some other aid to walking.

After approximately the first month, you can start to participate in many activities. However, it's important that you speak with your physical therapist before attempting anything even remotely strenuous.

For most people, that's all there is to it. The possibility of complications also exists, as well as pain. You should contact your doctor immediately if there are,

  • Unexpected changes
  • Pain that won't subside
  • Irritation or swelling of leg or foot
  • Signs of infection such as fever or chills

You will have mandatory post-op visits, and those are good times to ask all the questions you want to ask. But if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, then contact your doctor like one from Orthopaedic Associates of Muskegon.