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Before surgery information

A surgery date will be arranged that suits you and gives you time to make arrangements for the recovery period of around 4-6 weeks. You will also be given a pre-surgery assessment appointment with the nurse specialist for three or more weeks before your surgery date. You can contact the nurse specialist at any time before your appointment to discuss any concerns you may have about your treatment.

Pre-surgery assessment

You need to be assessed before your surgery to ensure you are fit and well before being given anaesthetic and to make sure you feel as prepared as possible for your forthcoming surgery. This will take up to one hour but may take up to one and a half hours if having x-rays taken. You can eat and drink normally beforehand and we will let you know what you need to bring with you.

We will ask you about your medical history and any medications you are taking. We will take any tests that are required, usually an ECG and blood test, at the pre-assessment. If we find any abnormalities we will let you know and try to correct them prior to surgery.

We will also talk to you about any of your medication that needs to be stopped before surgery, what you can expect after the surgery, what you can do to prepare for surgery, advise you on any equipment you may need, and answer your questions.

You will be given our 'Guide for Patients' which provides most of the information patients need to know and ask most often about their surgery. It is important that you read this as it includes essential information.

Before surgery information The London Hip Unit

Planning for your recovery

It is essential to plan for your recovery period before you go into hospital. You will need help at home for the first few weeks following surgery as your mobility will be reduced and your full energy levels will not have returned.

We can advise you if you are considering a home help or a stay in a convalescent or rehabilitation facility.

Wherever you will be spending your initial recovery period, we will advise you at your pre-assessment appointment about checking potential hazards around your home, making sure that everything is at the correct height and what equipment you might need.

Before surgery The London Hip Unit

Admission to hospital and the day of your surgery

You will usually be admitted to hospital on the same day as the operation. You will receive instructions before you go into hospital to tell you when to stop eating and drinking and whether or not to take your routine medications on the day of surgery. You will stay for about 4-5 days. You will be fitted for knee length compression TED stockings and the use of flowtron gaiters (massage devices to keep the blood moving in your legs) will be demonstrated. Flowtron gaiters are only for use in the hospital You may need further tests and X-rays.

You will be assessed by your anaesthetist and Miss Muirhead-Allwood will also visit you to mark the leg that is being operated on and answer any questions you may still have. You will be asked to sign a consent form for the operation if you have not already done so. The physiotherapist will demonstrate the exercises you will need to practice post operatively.

Primary operations usually take about one hour. Revision surgery may take 2 or more hours. After surgery you will be closely observed in the recovery room for around 45 to 60 minutes and will continue to be monitored regularly back in your room.

A foam wedge may be placed between your legs depending on the type of prosthesis and you will have to lie on your back to prevent any possible dislocation of the hip caused by crossing your legs.

A drain will remove any excess blood from your wound. You will have an intravenous infusion of fluid in your arm and another cannula will provide intravenous access for medications.

While in bed you'll be encouraged to perform your exercises and you'll be helped out of bed for the first time either on the same day as your surgery or early the next day.

Before surgery FAQs

  • What must I do to prepare for hip replacement surgery? icon plus

    Health: you should be in the best possible health before your surgery and try to lose weight if you are overweight, as this will benefit the longevity of your hip and your overall health. However we understand that loosing large amounts of weight before surgery can be difficult for some people due to reduced mobility.

    Smoking: we recommend that you stop smoking prior to your surgery, or at least cut down as smoking can affect the way your blood flows, delaying healing and slowing recovery. For information on how to stop smoking, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree.

    Teeth: make sure that you get any dental problems fully treated before your surgery. Although uncommon, infections can result from dental procedures if bacteria enter your bloodstream.

    You need to notify The London Hip Unit if you develop any kind of infection in the week before your surgery. If you have eczema or psoriasis and develop a patch over the area, which will be operated on, please contact us immediately.

  • Do I need to stop taking my medication before my surgery? icon plus

    We will discuss with you at your pre-assessment appointment which of your drugs you should stop taking before surgery.

    Do not stop medication without first consulting The London Hip Unit or your GP.

  • Where do I get the equipment for the following surgery? icon plus

    If you have your own crutches or sticks you can take them into the hospital otherwise the hospital can sell them to you whilst you are an inpatient. Other equipment can be purchased from the hospitals, local disability shops, and large chemists, Amazon, Argos or the Red Cross. If you want to hire equipment, Direct Mobility Hire hires out equipment within the M25 (contact 0800 092 93 22). It is best to wait until after your pre-assessment appointment to purchase equipment, as the nurse will advise you on what you will need.
  • What shall I pack to take to hospital? icon plus

    You'll be given a list of what you have to bring into hospital at the hip unit
  • What type of anaesthetic will be used during my operation? icon plus

    Your anaesthetist will explain and assess which anaesthetic methods will be most suitable for you.

    Most patients will have surgery under a general anaesthetic. However, sometimes it is possible to have a spinal anaesthetic that makes you numb from the waist down. With this type of anaesthetic you feel no pain but remain conscious however often you are given additional sedation to make you feel sleepy and relaxed.

    Further information on anaesthetics is available at: www.youranasethetic.info [THIS PAGE IS NOT ONLINE] or www.aagbi.org.

    Please let us know if you have a strong preference about your anaesthetic.

Contact us

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


020 7908 3709 

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


020 7636 5758
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