Each year in the United States, about 450,000 total hip replacement surgeries are performed. The procedure has been done since the 1960s, and is generally a very successful surgery. However, if you’re contemplating hip replacement, you probably still have some questions.
At Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates, our knowledgeable experts understand why the idea of hip replacement surgery may make you nervous. Knowing what to expect and understanding what your life might be like after recovery may help you feel calmer about the idea of surgery so you’re ready to schedule your procedure.
There are risks to having any surgery, but if your doctor has suggested hip replacement, you’re probably experiencing a significant amount of pain. You may struggle to do normal, daily activities like getting up from a chair, walking, or standing for very long. You may even have difficulties resting because of the pain.
It’s best to preserve your own hip for as long as possible, but if you’ve reached the point where you’re in constant pain and you’re unable to function normally, hip replacement could bring you relief and a return to normalcy.
The procedure and immediate aftermath
During the procedure, your surgeon removes damaged parts of your joint and replaces them with prosthetics. Whenever possible, we perform arthroscopic surgery, which requires multiple small incisions. Generally, there’s less risk of infection with this type of surgery and healing is usually quicker.
When you have hip replacement surgery, you’ll need to stay in the hospital for a few days. Most people require a stay of one to four days. During that time, you’ll begin working with a physical therapist to help you begin rebuilding strength and stability.
Some patients are discharged to a rehabilitation facility to recover, and others are discharged to home. Where you go after you leave the hospital depends on numerous factors, including your overall health, your resources at home, and many others.
Recovering at home
For the first two to eight weeks, you may need prescription-strength pain relievers, but you’ll transition to over-the-counter medications to control your pain as you heal.
You’ll need help for up to a couple of weeks at home, so plan for that prior to your surgery date. You’ll be able to do some simple chores, but within a relatively short time frame you should be able to move around your home more easily, walk short distances, prepare your own meals, and shower.
It’s important to monitor yourself for signs of infection during this period. If you have a fever, discharge from the surgical site, or other symptoms, contact our office right away.
For several months following your surgery, you’ll work with a physical therapist. Your therapist teaches you how to properly use a walker or cane and helps you learn how to regain strength and mobility.
Returning to normal
Once you’ve fully recovered from your procedure, your life is likely to return to a more comfortable version of what it was prior to your hip replacement. You may be able to do more with less pain. You may not be able to take up running or do other high-impact activities, but you should be able to enjoy a wide range of healthy activities.
If you have questions about hip replacement surgery, or what you can expect afterward, schedule an appointment with us at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates. We’re happy to answer your questions in the context of your specific circumstances.