Hip Replacement Surgery

Before Surgery

The first step when preparing for your procedure is to gather your personal health history and insurance information. When preparing for total hip replacement surgery, certain tests and examinations are performed. A medical evaluation is necessary to assess your health and identify any conditions that could interfere with surgery or recovery. Any of the following tests may be performed: blood and urine samples, cardiogram, X-rays. Before surgery it is important to make sure skin is free of infection and irritations. You may be advised to donate blood before surgery in the event you need blood after surgery. Your doctor will advise you which medications to stop taking and which to continue taking before surgery. If you are overweight, you may be asked to lose weight to minimize the stress on your new hip and decrease the risks of surgery. Additionally, your surgeon may require you to go to physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint.

During Surgery

Depending on the case, total hip replacement surgery typically takes between 45 minutes to two hours. The surgeon will make an incision to allow access to the hip joint. The femoral head is dislocated from the acetabulum and then removed. Special tools are used to remove cartilage from inside the acetabulum. At that point, the surgeon will test the new socket prosthesis to ensure proper fit. Special instruments are used to shape the femur to the exact shape of the stem prosthesis. Once the size and shape are appropriate, the prosthesis will be inserted into the femoral canal. The ball that replaces the femoral head is then inserted and all components are fitted together to form the artificial hip joint.

After Surgery

It is It is important to start moving your hip as soon as possible after surgery to promote blood flow, regain motion, and facilitate the recovery process. There are certain activities that will occur in the hospital as part of your recovery. In addition, there are some activities that you need to perform at home to ensure a successful recovery.

While in the hospital, a physical therapist will teach you how to move with your new hip. This includes how to safely climb and descend stairs, how to get into and out of a seated position, and how to care for your hip once you return home. The physical therapist will also show you a variety of exercises to help you regain mobility and strength. You will be given antibiotics to help reduce the chance of infection and may also receive blood-thinners to prevent blood clots from forming.

It is important to properly care for your incision site. Avoid getting the wound wet until it has thoroughly sealed and dried. A bandage may be placed over the wound to prevent irritation from clothing or support stockings.

Some loss of appetite is common for several weeks after surgery. A balanced diet and plenty of fluid intake is important to promote proper tissue healing and restore muscle strength.
Activities that are particularly good for you after a hip replacement include:

  • Swimming
  • Graduated walking programs
  • Sports with light physical activity

Before beginning any new exercise, including extensive bending and heavy lifting, you should get clearance from your doctor.

Hip Replacement Resources for Patients and Caregivers