To relieve hip pain, hip replacement surgery is sometimes a necessity for seniors, an operation in which medical professionals remove damaged bone and cartilage, then implant a prosthetic hip socket. What can you expect after the surgery? Below are five steps patients generally take during their recovery period.
After surgery, medical staff will place you in a recovery room as you emerge from the anesthesia. During this time, the staff will continually check on your blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as your comfort. After you are fully awake, staff will take you to your hospital room. You may feel some pain, which will be managed with medication. You may stay in the hospital for around one to five days, depending on how invasive your surgery needed to be, and how your recovery progresses.
Blood clot prevention
While the risk for complications from surgery are extremely low, one possible risk are blood clots that can form in your legs. To prevent this, you will be asked to move around soon after surgery: you’ll be encouraged to sit up, and even walk with the assistance of a walker or a crutch. You may also be given compression stockings or air sleeves. The air sleeves, which may feel like a blood pressure cuff, put pressure on your legs to reduce the chance of blood clots. A blood thinner medication, which can also keep clots at bay, may also be prescribed to you by your surgeon.
Many patients begin to work with a physical therapist the day after surgery to help strengthen the hip joint. The physical therapist, who you may see twice a day, will teach you exercises designed to allow you to regain full movement in your hips. Exercises that you are asked to do could include contracting and releasing muscles in your legs and buttocks, and ankle pumps. After returning from the hospital, the physical therapist will usually continue working with you three to four times a week.
Before returning home after surgery, elicit help from family and friends to help you prepare meals, clean or run errands. Also have everything you need in your home placed at your waist level, so that you don’t need to reach down or up to get something, and consider stocking up on easy-to-prepare foods, such as canned or frozen items. As you won’t be able to drive for around three to six weeks, you may need friends or family to give you lifts to and from doctor’s appointments. Six to twelve weeks after surgery, you will have another appointment with your surgeon so that he or she can check on your recovery progress. If there are no complications, you may then begin to resume normal activities.