hip replacement therapy

What Happens After Hip Replacement Surgery?

Hip replacement surgery often sparks a series of questions regarding the recovery process. Before heading into a surgical procedure like this one, it is important to know what to expect afterward. Arming yourself and loved ones with educational resources is the best way to promote a smooth recovery process and prevent re-injury.  

The following is a general overview of what you or your loved one can expect after a hip replacement surgery. However, all information should be filtered through the individualized guidance of your surgeon, physical therapist, and medical team. 

The Dynamics of Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery involves removing all or part of your hip with artificially-designed replacements. These prosthetic implants are used as a last resort when other, less invasive procedures have failed. Your physician may recommend hip replacement when a cane, walker, losing weight, medications, and other physical therapy attempts are not yielding positive results. 

Some of the most common causes that lead to needing a hip replacement include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Hip injuries, dislocation
  • Developmental hip dysplasia
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Neoplasms

Full hip replacement — Total hip replacements are most common and involve replacing both femoral and acetabulum parts.

Partial hip replacement — A partial hip replacement will only replace the femoral head portion of the hip and is commonly performed on patients with specific types of hip fractures.

Post Surgery Expectations

What can you or your loved one expect after surgery? 

Typically, patients will receive pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection right away. At this time, your medical team, led by your surgeon, will also prescribe various post-op procedures and recommendations. 

Not only does this include continued medication, but also a recovery plan guided by your physical therapist. Every recommendation is mindful of preventing blood clots or re-injury to the delicate hip area. 

Some patients experience Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops deep within your body after surgery. To prevent this from happening, you may receive specialized medication, medical-grade compression stockings, or other items you will need to use for the next few days or weeks after surgery. 

The Importance of Follow-Up Appointments

Usually patients begin their regular physical therapy program within 24 hours of surgery. Even the smallest amount of addressing how the body is responding to the substitute parts is helpful when determining the best therapy methods and schedule going forward. 

It is important not to miss any scheduled appointments with your physical therapist or medical team overseeing your recovery process. A personalized therapy plan has been created specifically for your recovery and missing or skipping therapy appointments leads to the risk of improper healing.

Unfortunately, improperly healed wounds often result in more re-hospitalizations and further complications to the surgically treated area.

Follow-up appointments with your surgeon or medical team are also crucial for the proper healing and recovery of the hip area. Appointments will help determine if you need a change of medications, physical therapy methods, dietary changes, etc. 

You or a loved one should contact your medical team if you notice any of the following:

  • More than usual redness
  • Severe pain and/or swelling
  • Incision area is draining fluids
  • Unusual bumps
  • Any other indicators that appear alarming

While experiencing a surgical procedure is often traumatic to the body and difficult for the mind to process, patience is the best way to smoothly navigate each day of recovery. Your body will be better equipped to manage the physical therapy protocol when you are patient and follow the guidelines of your medical team.

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier post-acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight and daily nutrition. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver the services needed to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help on your journey back to restored health.

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