Hip replacements are not uncommon in the United States. Hundreds of individuals receive hip prostheses on a daily basis, and this procedure has a very high success rate, bringing patients a significant decrease in hip pain and improvements in range of motion of the hip joint. While this is a relatively safe and effective operation, however, it does not come without its various concerns about risks and recovery. As a patient who is facing the possibility of a hip surgery in the near future, you need to know a few things about recovery from total hip replacement.
The physicians at Rothman Institute typically begin with conservative treatment for patients who are experiencing pain in the hip joint. Unless you have recently experienced a sports injury or an accident at work or in your car, your hip pain is quite possibly a result of arthritis or another degenerative condition. Non-surgical methods should be used prior to consideration of hip replacement surgery. These treatments include cortisone shots, anti-inflammatory medication, changes in your physical activity, and weight loss. When degeneration or damage continues to debilitate a patient after non-surgical treatments have been attempted, total hip replacement surgery may be an option.
Depending on age, weight, overall physical condition, and the extent of damage or deterioration in the hip joint, each individual patient will have a different expectation for recovery time and prognosis. The following are therefore only general frameworks for consideration regarding the process of recovery from total hip replacement.
Your Hospital Stay
Immediately after surgery, a hip replacement recipient should expect to stay in the hospital for a short period of time (one to three days). In some unusual or extenuating circumstances, patients may stay longer. Most patients will be assisted in attempts to sit up and walk within a day or two after the operation.
Your physical therapy will take place over the course of several weeks, but it actually begins during your hospital stay within a couple of days into your recovery from total hip replacement. At first, you will do some simple exercises like contracting and relaxing your muscles in order to strengthen your hip. You will also learn new techniques for movements such as sitting, standing, and bending, in order to prevent any possible damage to your hip replacement.
After your procedure, the spinal anesthesia will wear off over the course of several hours, at which point you will be administered pain medication either orally or intravenously. The most severe pain occurs during the first couple of days of recovery from total hip replacement. During the weeks after your surgery, you may need pain medication in certain circumstances. Each patient requires a different course of pain management, and Rothman Institute will advise you on the best methods of pain relief for a smooth recovery.
Dislocation of the replacement hip joint is an infrequent occurrence; in general, it happens in up to 4% of recipients, but for Rothman Institute patients, the rate is closer to 0.5%. When this occurs, it does not necessarily mean that the surgery was unsuccessful, or that another surgery is necessary. Most dislocations are successfully treated by closed reduction or bracing for a short period of time.