What is hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement surgery uses metal, ceramic, or plastic parts to replace the ball at the top of the thighbone (femur). In a total hip replacement, the doctor also replaces the hip socket. In a partial hip replacement, the socket is not replaced.
Hip replacement surgery is done through one or two cuts (incisions). The cuts may be toward the front (anterior) of your hip. Or they may be on the side or toward the back (posterior). Your doctor will talk with you about which type of surgery might be best for you.
Your doctor will let you know if you will stay in the hospital or if you can go home the day of surgery. Your physical therapy will start before you leave the hospital. You may need physical therapy after you leave the hospital. At home you'll keep doing the exercises you learned.
It usually takes a few months to get back to full activity. Your doctor will tell you when you can go back to work. This depends on the kind of surgery and the type of job you have.
After you recover, you likely will have much less pain than before the surgery. You should be able to return to most of your normal activities. Your doctor may suggest that you avoid strenuous activities. These include running, tennis, and any type of skiing.
Always tell your health professionals that you have an artificial hip so they will know how to care for you.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- You may need to shower or bathe with a special soap the night before and the morning of your surgery. The soap contains chlorhexidine. It reduces the amount of bacteria on your skin that could cause an infection after surgery.
- Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
- When you go home, you will need someone to help you until you have more energy and can move around better.
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery center
Bring a picture ID.
The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
You will get antibiotics through the I.V. tube before surgery. This lowers the risk of an infection.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
The surgery usually takes 1 to 3 hours.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
- You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.
Where can you learn more?
Enter Q357 in the search box to learn more about "Hip Replacement: Before Your Surgery".