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After surgery - what you need to know

It is important that you read your 'Guide for Patients' for more detailed information.

What you can expect in hospital following surgery

You will be assessed regularly for pain and nausea. You will have an intravenous drip for pain control which will be replaced by tablets by the second day after surgery. You will also have intravenous hydration until you are able to drink normally. Your blood will be checked to see if you are anaemic, in which case you may need a blood transfusion or iron tablets.

Your hip will be X-rayed to check its position and to be used as comparison with future X-rays.

The physiotherapist will supervise and encourage your bed exercises and help you to walk. By day three you'll usually be shown how to manage stairs.

By the time you leave hospital you should be moving safely and independently with crutches or a stick. Your wound should no longer require a dressing.

The London Hip Unit After surgery information

What you can expect at home following surgery

Following surgery you will feel fatigued as the body is using its energy to heal itself. You will experience various degrees of discomfort and stiffness which will lessen in intensity as your rehabilitation progresses. It is also usual to have some swelling to the operated leg following surgery. This may start around the hip but moves down the leg as people start to move around. The swelling will gradually diminish but may take many months. You will be advised about the exercise programme you need to follow once you are home. Your instructions may vary depending on your implant and the operative technique used. You will receive individual instructions from The London Hip Unit team.

Pacing yourself is the key to recovery after surgery. When you first go home you may find you do a little more than when you were in hospital. For example, simple tasks like going to the toilet often involve greater distances. Remember to take this into account when planning your activities.

Generally, by the time you go back to for your first check-up you will be able to move around indoors without a walking aid, though you may still need one outside. However, it is important that you follow the instructions we give you. If you are unsure what you are aiming for with regards to mobility please get in touch with us.

Most patients find that the pain in their leg and hip lessens immediately and continues to do so in the weeks following surgery, but may still experience some minor pain and stiffness for up to four months. Most people generally continue to take regular pain medication for the first three weeks.

The London Hip Unit After surgery information

What to avoid doing in the first four weeks after surgery

It is very important to prevent your hip dislocating in the first four weeks after surgery. You should avoid the following:
  • Do not bend your hip more than 90 degrees: avoid sitting on low chairs, toilets or on highly cushioned seating; do not bend straight over to pick things up from the floor; do not try to put on your own socks
  • Do not cross your legs over the midline of your body: do not cross your legs at the knees or ankles; lie on your back in bed rather than your sides or your tummy
  • Do not twist your hips or your operated leg
  • Avoid lifting anything heavier than a kettle
  • You will be given a physiotherapy booklet with full details.

After surgery FAQs

  • What long term care will my hip replacement require? icon plus

    A check-up and a hip X-ray is mandatory at 4-6 weeks after surgery, then after a further three months, then after a year and finally at least every three years. This is essential to monitor the results of your surgery and give you any further advice on the care of your hip replacement. Any loosening of the hip replacement can often be seen on X-ray before the individual is aware of any symptoms.

    You need to notify any doctor or dentist treating you that you have a hip replacement. There is a slight possibility that an infection elsewhere in your body could travel via your blood stream to the hip replacement.

    Miss Muirhead-Allwood generally advises all her patients that although the risk is very small, it is up to individuals and their dentist to decide whether to take antibiotics prior to dentistry.

    Patients with an increased risk of blood stream infections may be recommended to take antibiotics prior to dental treatment. These include people with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and HIV. You will be advised if you are in this category.

    You will be given further advice regarding what long term activities you can and cannot do with your hip replacement at your 4-6 week post-surgery appointment.

  • Who do I contact if I need help or have a query? icon plus

    You can contact The London Hip Unit Team during office hours on + 44 (0)20 7908 3709

    Out of these hours, please contact the hospital where you had your operation (King Edward: Tel: +44 (0)20 7486 4411; Princess Grace: Tel: +44 (0)20 7486 1234). Your GP will also be able to help you. In an urgent medical emergency please contact the emergency services on 999.

    Who do I contact if I have any feedback about my care, treatment or experience?

    If your feedback is regarding the care you received at the hospital when you were an in-patient, please contact the hospital directly. For any other feedback regarding your experience at The London Hip Unit, please contact us directly.

  • Who do I contact if I have any feedback about my treatment? icon plus

    If your feedback is regarding the care you received at the hospital when you were an in-patient, please contact the hospital directly. For any other feedback regarding your experience at The London Hip Unit, please contact us directly.

Contact us

Any questions? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Call

020 7908 3709 

We can be reached during office hours, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

Fax

020 7636 5758
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