Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery
The average length of hospital stay after a hip replacement is between 2 and 4 days. You will normally use a stick or crutches for approximately 6 weeks after your operation, and the post-operative rehabilitation is supervised by an experienced team of physiotherapists.
Immediately after surgery:
After your operation, you are transferred to the recovery area where you are closely monitored. You may have an oxygen mask in place, a cannula (drip) in your arm, and pneumatic pumps on your feet or calf muscles to help reduce the risk of blood clots.
On the Ward:
If possible, on the day of your surgery, the nursing staff or physiotherapists will sit you out of bed or maybe even help you to take a few steps! It is essential that you begin to eat and drink normally as soon as possible after your operation.
Your inpatient stay:
In the days following your operation, the nursing staff and therapists will encourage you to return to normality. Washing or showering, wearing your own clothes, normal toileting and frequent mobilisation are all important post-operative goals. A routine post-operative X-ray will be performed prior to your discharge.
Once Mr Tai, the nursing staff and therapists have passed you fit and safe for discharge, you may go home. Even after discharge from hospital you will be asked to wear compression stockings and take medication for a short period to reduce the risk of blood clots. Your physiotherapist will provide you with an exercise programme to facilitate your post-operative recovery and rehabilitation. If necessary, we can also arrange a course of out-patient physiotherapy.
You will have your wound checked at two weeks (Mr Tai uses dissolvable stitches for his hip replacement patients) and will have further follow-up at approximately 6 weeks and 6 months after your hip replacement. If you are a little slower to rehabilitate or recover after your operation, or indeed if you simply need some reassurance and encouragement, Mr Tai will happily follow you up more frequently or for a longer period of time.
Precautions after hip replacement surgery:
Traditionally, it has been recommended that patients avoid certain movements for the first 6 weeks after hip replacement surgery to minimise the risk of their new hip dislocating:
• Do not bend the hip more than 90 degrees
• Avoid bending down to the floor
• Do not lift the knees higher than your hips
• Do not lean forward from the hips whilst seated
• Do not cross the legs, or ankles in lying, sitting or standing position
• Do not twist on the operated leg
However, recent evidence has shown that avoiding these movements does not reduce your risk of dislocation and may even slow your recovery. Therefore, Mr Tai does not advise that his patients subscribe to these precautions after hip replacement surgery.
Returning to normal activity:
Do not drive for the first six weeks. You are responsible for ensuring that you are physically fit and safe to drive a vehicle before returning to the open roads. It is advisable to inform your insurance company of your operation.
You may bath / swim once your wound has completely healed.
No flights longer than 4 hours should be planned within the first 3 months of your hip replacement surgery.