Planning ahead and preparing for your hip surgery can help ensure you a smooth surgery and an easier recovery.
The following recommendations can help you with this process.
When you and your orthopedic surgeon decide that joint replacement surgery is the best option to relieve pain and restore motion, you will begin the normal preparation for surgery. You should notify your surgeon about any of the medications you are presently taking because some medications must be stopped before surgery. All surgeries carry certain risks and possible complications. Before surgery, your surgeon will explain the possible complications. Your orthopedic surgeon may ask you to see your primary care physician to make sure that you do not have any health conditions that may complicate your surgery.
You may be asked to donate blood before your surgery. There are several options regarding blood donation and surgery, and all of these options should be explained to you.
Surgery also requires anesthesia. There may be some options regarding anesthesia and they will be explained to you. Your options will be based on your health history, the medications you presently take, and the results of your physical examination.
Your surgeon may also recommend that you start a strengthening program before surgery. The prescribed exercises are designed to help add strength and flexibility. Strengthening your muscles before surgery can assist your postoperative recovery.
After surgery your surgeon will give you a specific recovery plan that you should carefully follow. Do not attempt exercises that are not prescribed by your surgeon, and do not attempt to alter your recovery schedule. It takes time for your joint to heal properly.
Planning ahead for your return home
- Launder all of your dirty clothing before your surgery. Have loose, comfortable clothing set aside for your recovery time
- Prepare single-serving meals before your surgery. These meals can be heated quickly in a microwave and there is less to clean up
- Be sure to remove loose rugs and other trip hazards such as electrical cords and magazine racks from walking paths to avoid accidents or falls. If necessary, widen furniture paths to accommodate a walker or cane
- Place regularly used items such as remote controls, medications, and reading materials in easy-to-reach locations
- Un-tuck bedding to allow for easier access in and out of your bed. If your bedroom is on a second floor, it may be helpful to temporarily relocate your sleeping arrangements to the first floor. This will avoid having to climb stairs when you are not feeling your best
- Having some assistance after total joint replacement can also be very beneficial. Contact family members or friends ahead of time so they may make the necessary arrangements to assist in your recovery
During your first few weeks at home, it is important that you move properly. You should avoid crossing your legs while sitting or standing, and do not allow your knees to come higher than your hips. Also, avoid sitting in low sofas or chairs.
It is important to have some assistance when going up and down stairs. When climbing stairs, always use the railing and lead with your non-surgical leg, one step at a time. When going down stairs, hold onto the railing and lead with your surgical leg, again, one step at a time.
Continue the prescribed exercises during your entire recovery period, and talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program after you fully recover. Golfing, swimming, walking, and bicycling are excellent sources of low-impact exercise if your physician feels that these activities are appropriate for your individual condition.
Follow your physician’s check-up plan. It is common to visit with your surgeon at three, six, and nine months after surgery and annually thereafter.