Hip Replacement Preparation & Recovery Tips
There are many possible causes for swollen and painful joints. However, osteoarthritis tends to be the condition that most often requires surgical remediation. The need arises due to a steady erosion of the collagen covering the articulating surfaces of the bones involved, causing damage to the underlying bone tissue and accounting for the pain and swelling. When painkillers are no longer effective and mobility is impaired, a knee or hip replacement may be the only viable treatment.
The surgery involved is known as arthroplasty. Successive improvements to the technique and artificial joints made over half a century have seen this become the most successful intervention in the history of orthopaedics. Nevertheless, to ensure the best possible outcome, patients need to observe certain precautions before and after surgery.
While it might cause some discomfort, exercising will strengthen the surrounding muscles, thus benefitting your recovery following the hip replacement. Your consultant or primary care physician might refer you to a physiotherapist for more details. Losing weight can be difficult, but it can also aid your recovery. If you are overweight, try to shed a few kilos by combining non-impact exercise with a more conservative diet. At least seven days before your surgery, you should discontinue any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen. These act as blood thinners and could lead to excessive bleeding during your surgery.
You will also need to prepare your home for the few weeks after your hip replacement while you regain strength and mobility. Perhaps install some safety rails and grab bars and set up a temporary bedroom on the ground floor to avoid climbing stairs. Rearrange items you use regularly. Try to locate them at waist height to limit bending, and be sure to remove any possible tripping hazards.
Recovery times vary between patients. Those whose jobs involve light tasks in an office can generally return to work within six weeks of their surgery. If a hip replacement patient is engaged in heavy work, it could be three months or more before the surgeon sanctions a return to work. What may surprise you is that you will be encouraged to stand and walk on the day after your surgery, increasing your sessions daily until you are discharged. Once you return home, you will follow a prescribed course of physiotherapy and exercise, assisted by a pain management regimen and walking aids, until these are no longer necessary.
Arthroplasty is an intricate procedure that offers life-changing outcomes. However, it also requires exceptional surgical skills and experience. Consequently, many South African and overseas doctors refer their patients to Pretoria’s Wilgers Life Hospital for hip replacement surgery.