How to prepare for hip replacement surgery

Posted on Mar 5, 2020, by

Planning for hip replacement surgery may feel daunting at first, but with the right plan in place, you can make the transition into a more active life as easy as possible. 

When preparing for hip surgery, consider both pre- and post-op. It’s important to know what you can do now to help recover as quickly as possible, including what plans you can have in place to make your day-to-day activities easier while recovering.

The exact time it takes to recover from hip replacement surgery is different for everyone. Factors like age, physical condition before surgery and your general health impact your recovery time. Though recovery time can vary, we have a general timeline for the average hip replacement recovery.

As the largest hip replacement center in Wisconsin, The Kennedy Center at Ascension Mercy Hospital provides outstanding care to help you with a fast and effective recovery. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for hip replacement surgery and how we can help. 

Learn about your hip replacement procedure

Try to understand as much as you can about your hip replacement surgery. Talk with your surgeon before having a hip replacement. Have a list of questions that you’d like your doctor to answer such as which type of hip replacement procedure is the best one for you, what are the results of their hip replacements procedure and what to expect during your recovery.

Write down questions for your surgeon so you don’t forget to ask them during your first appointment. Feel free to contact us with questions, or check out our FAQ for more information.  

Consider how a hip replacement will affect your work and personal life

Depending on how physically demanding your profession is, you may need several weeks or even months away from your workplace to fully recover. Set a plan in place at work to accommodate this time away. Make sure any pertinent tasks are covered while you are gone and that everyone is aware of the time you’ll be away from work

If you have an active personal life, be prepared to have down time to recover. Avoid making any big plans or scheduling physically demanding activities. 

It’s best to talk with your surgeon prior to the surgery to determine your projected recovery time and plan accordingly. 

Prepare your body

Keeping your body as healthy as possible can help speed up recovery. Stick to a healthy diet before hip replacement surgery. If your doctor suggests that you lose weight before a hip replacement, the Kennedy Center team can help you with a plan of action. Moderate exercise that doesn’t cause pain, such as biking or swimming, can also help strengthen hip, glute and thigh muscles, making them strong post-surgery.

In addition, quit or reduce your smoking habits, as nicotine can slow recovery and cause complications.

Meet with your healthcare team

Your team of healthcare providers can answer all your questions about how to prepare for your surgery and what to expect post-operatively. 

In addition, they can help with hip replacement rehabilitation exercises to ensure a quick recovery and better results. It’s best to meet before surgery because they can give you specific exercises to prepare for hip replacement

Practice using your crutches or walker

Although you are encouraged to walk on the day of your surgery, you will still rely on crutches or a walker for some of your hip replacement recovery. Get a feel for how you will be moving around post-surgery so you can understand how to balance and navigate using your new equipment. 

In addition, practice using them both inside and outside your home, getting in and out of your car and performing other tasks you may do during your recovery time. Specifically, practice in your home can help you navigate stairs, rugs and different types of flooring while you are in recovery.

Accommodate your home

Think about how you will be moving around your home after surgery, items you use in a day and the activities you do. What can you do now to make your life easier while recovering? 

Some things to consider: 

  • Move your bed to the ground floor, if possible. Stairs will be difficult for the first few days.
  • If your bed is low, raise  the height with bed risers so It’s easier to get in and out of. 
  • Keep commonly used items in easy-to-reach places. 
  • Remove tripping hazards, like rugs and cords. 
  • Set up a space where you will spend most of your time with everything you may need in one spot.  
  • If possible, set up railings on stairways or in the bathroom to help you move around.
  • Purchase helpful gadgets, such as a shower chair, higher toilet seat and reaching aids. 

Ask family and friends for help in advance

When preparing for hip surgery, understand that there are going to be many tasks you cannot do on your own while recovering. Ask family and friends for help before the surgery so they can plan accordingly. 

You will not be able to drive for a few weeks post surgery, so it is essential to find someone to drive you to follow-up doctors’ appointments and to help with any errands you need. If you don’t have a support system, you may want to look into a rehab center to stay while you recover. 

Start your path to recovery

Now that you know how to prepare for hip replacement surgery, you can start planning to make your recovery as smooth as possible. Although, typical recovery time for hip replacement surgery varies, you can expect recovery time will take approximately 12 weeks before you can return to all the normal activities that you were performing before your surgery. 

To schedule a hip replacement surgery or to ask more questions about how to prepare for hip replacement surgery, please contact us. 

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