Here are some guidelines on how best to prepare for before and after surgery and what to expect from the procedure itself (adapted from U.S. News & World Report).
Prior to surgery, educate yourself. Interview several doctors to make sure you are comfortable with who will be performing the surgery. Visit the facility where it will take place, and talk to other patients or family and friends who have undergone the procedure.
Prepare your body by staying in good physical form leading up to it. Consider a few “prehab” sessions with a physical therapist or trainer to strengthen muscles before your surgery date.
Consider all other alternatives. Have you already tried all the non-surgical forms of treatment? If you have previously done physical therapy and taken anti-inflammatory injections to alleviate pain and mobility issues without success, then surgery ultimately may be your best option.
Hip Arthroplasty, the hip replacement surgery itself, entails removing the damaged portion of the hip joint and replacing it with artificial implants or prosthetics. This is an inpatient procedure, and you can expect a hospital stay of about two to five days.
Post-surgery, you’ll start physical therapy. As quickly as the next day following your procedure, your therapist will demonstrate how to use a walker, cane, or crutches as well as review basic functions like getting in and out of the car, climbing stairs, and dressing yourself.
Ensure your home is safe. As soon as you are home, have a family member or friend sweep your living space for any rugs that slide, slippery floors, or cords and clutter that may get in your way or cause potential falls.
While recovering at home, practice patience. It will take time to learn to regain your mobility and strength in your hip joint and muscles. Attend physical therapy as often as prescribed by your doctor, and also perform your exercises at home as directed by your therapist.