After your operation
After your operation, you'll be moved from the operation theatre to the recovery room for a short period of time. You will be monitored closely in the recovery room by nursing staff. You will be visited by your anaesthetist and your surgeon, and you'll be told how the operation went.
You may feel hazy or groggy as you come round from the anaesthetic and or sedation. You will given oxygen (through tubes in your nose or a mask) to help you feel better.
It is not uncommon to feel sick or vomit after you've been given anaesthesia or sedation. Your nurse may offer you medicine to help with sickness. You may also have a sore throat and a dry mouth. You will be nursed upright and you may be offered a glass of water or even a hot drink.
Your blood pressure will be taken regularly by using an automatic cuff that squeezes tightly at regular times. Your temperature will also be taken and you will be kept warm using a thermal blanket. You will be given intravenous fluids, which may include antibiotics, prescribed to prevent infection. You may have a plastic suction tube inserted into the hip replacement to drain excess blood from the area.
Once your observations are stable and pain under control, you will be taken back to the ward, where the nurses will continue to monitor you. If you have any pain, be sure to inform the nurses of your discomfort.
After you arrive on the ward, you will be given food to eat as soon as possible. It is important that you maintain your nutritional levels to enable you to recover well after a hip replacement operation. You must eat first before you start walking. The length of post-operative hospitalization is 1-2 days on average depending on your general health.
Mobilization after your operation
You will be encouraged to walk with a zimmer frame after the sensation and strength returns in your legs with assistance from the nursing and therapy staff. You can put full weight through the operated leg. You will practice climbing stairs before you leave hospital.
Coping with pain
You will always have some pain after having surgery. Tell your nurse as soon as you start to feel any pain so they can give you painkilling medication as soon as possible. This will stop the pain from getting worse (medication can take 20 minutes to start working).
Avoiding blood clots
The sooner you start walking, the better. Lying in bed for prolonged periods of time can cause some of your blood to pool in your legs. This puts you at risk of a blood clot.
Doing leg exercises early can help prevent a blood clot. These exercises may be as simple as bending your knees or ankles and rotating your feet.
You may be given special support stockings to wear after surgery to help your blood circulation. Your nurse or doctor will explain how you should use these. You will be given an injection to thin the blood to help reduce the risk of clots.
You will have routine blood tests on the first day after your operation. However, if you are having your operation as a day-case- hip replacement surgery, you will not have any blood tests.
Your drain will be removed on the first day after your operation. However, if you are having your operation as a day-case- hip replacement surgery, your drain will be removed just before you leave hospital. On some occasions, your surgeon may decide against using a drain.
Deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis
You will be encouraged to wear well-fitting anti-embolic stockings for six weeks after your operation.
You will receive blood-thinning injections during your inpatient stay.
You will be given blood-thinning tablets to take orally for four weeks after your hip replacement operation.
You will be discharged from hospital after 1-2 days after surgery. By this time you should be fairly mobile and able to climb stairs with the aid of your crutches. Your GP will be sent a letter giving him information on the hip replacement procedure, your recovery after the operation and your general health on discharge.
It is vitally important that you continue with physiotherapy on an outpatient basis. You will be contacted with an appointment for this. You will receive an outpatient appointment to see your Orthopaedic surgeon in three weeks’ time if you had a day-case hip replacement or 6-7 weeks if you had an overnight stay, where your progress will be reviewed.
You'll also be given advice on the care for your wound, dressings, crutches and the use of painkillers. You will also be given advice on where and when the stitches or clips will be removed.
You will be given the contact details for the ward and you can give the nursing staff a call if you have any concerns after discharge.
You won't be able to drive yourself home after surgery. Instead, you could ask your family or a friend to take you home. You will have to have a responsible adult keep a very close eye on you for at least 24- 48 hours after having a total hip replacement.
Plan for your stay at home after surgery
It's important to you arrange appropriate care after your operation. Depending on your general health, you will be mobile independently and you are unlikely to require assistance with personal care. However, you will need assistance with cooking, shopping and cleaning for a few weeks after your hip replacement surgery. Your family and friends should keep a very close eye on you for a several weeks after your operation.