One of the most frightening aspects of undergoing a surgical procedure is that one never fully knows what to expect. The kind of downtime required, the extent of the pain one will face, and what life will be like after the surgery are all questions many patients have. Thankfully, hip arthroscopy is a common procedure with a high success rate and talking to your specialist about what the surgery and recovery entail will help to set your mind at ease. It is also important to note that a hip arthroscopy will require rehabilitation in one form or another and entering the healing phase with the right mindset is half the battle won.
Post-Operative Pain and Mobility
A hip arthroscopy is generally required for conditions of the joint that include labral tears, hip impingement, and pain. A small incision is made on the skin outside of the joint and a thin tube with a light and camera lens (known as an arthroscope) is inserted into this incision to look into the problem area. Here, the surgeon can decide to treat a problem before it becomes worse. After surgery, there are a few things you can expect. Firstly, you will likely feel tired and lethargic for a few days. As such, making arrangements with a friend, family member, or another caregiver in the days following your procedure is essential. Swelling and discolouration of the incision site will return to normal in a few days and an undemanding desk job or routine can be resumed within a few days too. Full recovery might take between six weeks to two months, however, so be prepared to give up physical labour for this amount of time. In the first few days after the procedure, keep your leg elevated above or in line with your heart to bring swelling down. Some patients require physical rehabilitation to help with recovery.
Each patient is different, and your recovery time will depend on several factors. In this case, it is essential that you pay attention to what your doctor has to say. Hip arthroscopy is invasive and the more time you give yourself to heal, the better your chances of bouncing back fully. Don’t overdo any physical activity, rest when your body signals it is tired, and make use of your walker or crutches as is recommended. When it comes to lifting objects, driving, and exercising, be sure your specialist gives you the all-clear first. Your specialist or physiotherapist might give you a few exercises to regain strength and range of motion, and it is important that you stay faithful in practising these at home.
Your Diet and Medication
A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, and water is always important, but especially so after surgery. Right after your hip arthroscopy, you may feel as though you have no appetite or struggle with nausea. Don’t try to eat too much too soon, and stick to plain, low-fat foods such as toast, chicken soup, or yoghurt. For people who experience constipation after surgery, it is best to continue to drink plenty of fluids and speak to your doctor about a stool softener or mild laxative.
When it comes to medication, consult your specialist before stopping or starting any drug. Consult your medical professional about the medication you are currently taking and how these can be managed in conjunction with pain management and antibiotics. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, be sure to continue the course until completion or you may risk an infection resistant to antibiotics.
Caring for the Incision
For the first few weeks, try to avoid taking a bath that soaks your dressings and site of the incision. You may shower one to two days after your procedure but try as far as possible to keep the wound dry and clean. Your specialist will show you how to clean, care for, and change the dressing of the incision and tell you when you can get back to bathing and swimming.
Most importantly, when it comes to any kind of surgery, is to place your health in the hands of a reliable specialist. Follow-up is just as important as the arthroscopy itself, so be sure to check in with your health professionals if something is unclear. If you would like to know more about what a hip arthroscopy entails or require a consultation, be sure to contact us.