The aim of hip replacement surgery is to:
- Relieve your pain
- Correct and deformity for example, leg length inequality
- Restore any loss of function in your hip
- Improve your quality of life.
Stop Smoking -
If you have not already done so, it is suggested that you stop smoking at least four weeks before your surgery. This will help reduce the risk of complications during and after your surgery.
Make sure all infections are cleared up prior to the surgery -
These include; tooth abscesses, bladder infections, infections such as leg ulcers, colds and the flu. This is because infections could spread through your body during the operation and infect your new replaced joint. Therefore you must notify your surgeon immediately if you are suspected or diagnosed with an infection, as they may have to reschedule your surgery.
You may also wish to consider how you will cope after the operation, for example, you may need help getting home, shopping, etc. Do discuss this with your doctor or a hospital staff member.
Your Hospital Stay
You should be admitted to hospital in good time before your operation to allow time for you to settle in. You will be examined by your anesthetist, checking your heart and chest. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions before your operation.
On the day of your operation, it is usual that your doctor will ask you not to drink or eat anything. The area around your hip may be shaved to reduce the risk of infection.
An hour or so before the operation you will be given tablets or an injection to relax you. This is known as a ‘pre-med’. You will then be taken into the operating theatre where you will be given your anesthetic and have your operation.
The operation usually takes 1-2 hours to complete.
Immediately after your operation you will be moved to the recovery room for close monitoring. You will have one or two drips in your arm to put fluid back into your body. When you wake up from surgery, your leg may be swollen and bruised and the muscles may be stiff and sore. Your new joint should not cause you any discomfort, but you may experience some pain from the surgical procedure itself. You will be given pain medications to take regularly whilst you are recovering.
When you are fully conscious, breathing well and your blood pressure and pulse are stable, you will be taken back to ward. You probably won’t feel much like eating at first, but it is important that you drink. The scar on the side of the hip should eventually fade to a thin white line.
During the next few days the drips will be removed. Your physiotherapist will visit you the day after your operation to commence you on your exercise programmed and help you get back on your feet walking again. You may feel unstable and in pain at first, but you will be given a frame to help you walk with, then crutches or sticks, which you may need for four to six weeks, after, depending on your surgeon’s instructions.
Once you, your surgeon and physiotherapist are happy with your condition and mobility you will be discharged from hospital. The usual hospital stay for hip joint replacement is usually four to seven days.