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Hip Replacement FAQs

Some helpful Questions and Answers for Hip Replacement surgery: 

How long does the surgery take?
In general, the surgery takes about two hours followed by a one to three hour stay in the Recovery Room (post anesthesia care unit – PACU).

How long will I be in the hospital?
This is dependent on your age and medical condition. Some patients are able to leave the day of surgery whereas other patients may stay overnight or longer depending on your physical condition.

What about Physical Therapy?
PT begins the day of surgery or the morning after surgery in the hospital depending on when your surgery is completed. The therapist will assist with exercises and walking. After you leave the hospital, physical therapists will either come to the house or some patients will be able to go directly to outpatient physical therapy.

What kind of anesthesia is used?
The type of anesthesia depends on patient and surgeon preference.  Some patients will have a regional anesthetic (nerve block, or spinal) along with light sedation to help them sleep.  Other patients will have general anesthesia. The anesthesia provider will discuss these options with you at your hospital pre-operative visit.

Will there be adequate pain medicine?
Yes. Pain medicine will be available to you immediately after surgery. Surgeons use different combinations of medicines based on their preferences. Every effort will be made to make sure that you are comfortable. Please remember that the pain medicine will not completely relieve your pain. It is meant to make you comfortable enough so that you can rest.

What are the side effects of pain medications?
Pain medications can cause nausea, vomiting, itching, drowsiness, decreased energy, loss of appetite, and constipation.  You may need a stool softener or laxative to remain regular. These are available over the counter.

Will I take any other medicines after surgery?
Yes. You will be given a blood thinner to help prevent blood clots based on your surgeon’s preference and your medical comorbidities along with your normal home medications.

Should someone be with me after I go home?
Yes. We encourage that you go home if possible.

How do I take care of my incision?
A surgical dressing will be in place after surgery. Your surgeon will instruct you regarding dressing changes if needed.

When can I bathe/shower?
The timing of this activity is surgeon dependent. Bath tubs and swimming pools should be avoided until cleared your surgeon.

Will I have stitches or staples?
Skin closure technique is surgeon dependent.  You may also have steri-strips over the incision.

What about a cane or walker?
You will need a walker initially but you will progress to a cane over time.

When can I drive?
Patients can usually safely drive four to six weeks after surgery if surgery is on the right hip.  Some patients are able to drive sooner.  If your left hip is replaced, you may drive when you are comfortable.  Driving is not permitted while taking pain medication.

What activities should I avoid after hip replacement?
Running, jumping and other impact loading activities should be avoided as they can lead to increased wear of the prosthesis and early failure. Extreme positions should be avoided as they can lead to dislocation

Is blood required during surgery?
Occasionally blood will be necessary during your hospital stay.  Your surgeon will advise you if this is necessary.

What are the risks of surgery?
Complications from surgery are rare - but possible. Risks include infection, dislocation, blood clots, leg length inequality, fracture of the femur (thigh bone) or acetabulum (socket of the hip joint in the pelvis) during surgery, loosening or wear of the implants, wound problems, need for additional surgery, damage to nerves and/or blood vessels, bleeding, problems with anesthesia, and death. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will not have a complication but we do everything we can to minimize the risks related to any surgery.