Post-Surgical Care for Hip Replacement

At the Hospital

Immediately, post-surgery, the patient is taken to the recovery room, where he/she is closely watched. An average patient’s hospital stay is likely to last up to 5 days however this varies from patient to patient based on their overall state of health, the type of surgery performed and the type of implant used. During the hospital stay, the patient may initially receive fluids intravenously and will rest with their body propped up under close watch of the hospital staff. Consequently, within 2-3 days, the patient may be able to sit up, stand and walk with assistance. Light physiotherapy may begin at the hospital itself. Before being discharged, the patient would ideally be able to:

  • Get in and out of bed
  • Eat, drink and use the bathroom
  • Walk with a supporting device such as a walker
  • Do some light exercises prescribed for their home
  • The patient’s pain should also be under control and it is important to fully understand all the precautions to follow once at home.

Precautions for Home

Post-surgery, the patient must be careful not to dislocate their new hip (the ball shouldn’t come out of the socket). The orthopedic surgeon will provide a detailed set of instructions. Some things he may recommend are:

  • Hip should not be bent beyond 90 degrees
  • Legs should not be brought together
  • Operative leg should not be brought up towards the chest
  • Patient should not sit up in bed
  • Patient should not bend over to reach for objects on the floor
  • A pillow could be placed between the legs once in bed to maintain desired position

Progress to Physical Activity

The patient is likely to resume physical activity within the first week of the surgery itself. He/she should be able to resume a normal daily routine by 3-6 weeks and some patients are able to go back to work in a month as long as their work isn’t too strenuous. Driving may also be permitted after 6 weeks.

A physiotherapist will work with the patient, carrying out exercises to strengthen the hip. Meanwhile, the patient will be encouraged to do some normal household activities, taking walks etc. However, it is essential that the patient strictly follows the instructions of the orthopedic surgeon and doesn’t overstrain or fall. A cane or crutches will provide assistance and ensure no accidents happen, which can jeopardize the new hip.

 

Important safety information: The way a hip replacement will perform depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. If patients have conditions that limit rehabilitation, they should not have this surgery. Only an orthopedic surgeon can tell a patient if hip replacement is right for them.