Hip replacement surgery is among the most common—and successful—orthopedic procedures performed today. However, each patient’s recovery is a bit different. Your experience can vary based on several factors, including your surgeon’s skill and technique, the type of joint implant you received, and your rehabilitation and follow-up care.
Before your surgery, your surgeon will provide detailed post-operative instructions that are tailored to your unique situation. It is important to carefully follow these instructions, which are intended to guide your return to your daily routine at an optimal pace.
Controlling Your Pain
Much like any other surgical procedure, hip replacement surgery will cause you some discomfort, especially during the first three days afterward. Also, your mobility will be limited, so you will need to depend on others to assist you with many of your regular activities, such as using the restroom.
On the first day, you will still have a significant amount of surgical anesthesia in your system. Most likely, you will feel groggy but not uncomfortable. A physical therapist will evaluate you. Even though you just had surgery on the largest weight-bearing joint in your body, you will be encouraged to walk on the same day as your surgery, which is the best way to promote healing and recover hip movement. On the second day, you should be able to get out of bed with assistance.
Participating in Physical Therapy
You will begin supervised physical therapy before you are discharged from the hospital or surgery center. Then, you will continue your physical therapy in an outpatient physical therapy clinic. In general, you can anticipate doing approximately 20 to 30 minutes of exercise several times each day.
Returning to Your Daily Routine
After your hip replacement, you will need help with simple chores at home, such as preparing meals, cleaning up, and doing laundry. Within a week or two, you should be able to:
- Move about your home more easily
- Walk a short distance, such as to your mailbox or around the block
- Stand at your kitchen counter to prepare basic meals
- Stand in your shower to bathe (after being cleared by your surgeon)
Before you resume driving, you will need to finish taking any medications that may cause drowsiness or errors in judgment. You will also need to recover sufficient stamina, strength, reflexes, and coordination to operate your vehicle’s gas and brake pedals. Therefore, if your right hip was replaced, you may be advised to wait at least six weeks before driving.
The best way to ensure a smooth recovery from hip replacement surgery is to listen to both your body and your surgeon’s advice. If you have questions or would like to receive personalized advice from a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, contact the office of Peter D. Vizzi, MD, in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Vizzi can help you find the best treatment option for your hip pain.