Hip Replacement Preoperative Procedures
Before total hip replacement surgery, patients undergo a complete physical examination, a dental evaluation, and a number of tests (e.g., blood tests, chest x-ray, EKG, urinalysis). Patients who are overweight may be advised to lose weight to reduce the risk for complications during and after surgery. In some cases, patients donate blood prior to surgery in case a blood transfusion is necessary during the procedure.
Prior to surgery, patients should follow their health care provider's directions for eating, drinking, and taking medication. In most cases, patients are advised not to eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure.
Postoperative Care after Hip Replacement Surgery
After surgery, patients are taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and are closely monitored by the nursing staff until they are awake and coherent. Once the anesthesia wears off, the patient is transferred to his or her hospital room.
Following hip replacement surgery, patients usually remain in the hospital for 3 to 7 days. The length of recovery depends on the type of surgery performed (e.g., traditional, minimally invasive), the patient's overall health, and the success of rehabilitation.
After the procedure, patients must limit movement and the hip usually is braced in the correct position. In most cases, a drain is inserted near the incision site to excess drain fluid and patients continue to receive intravenous (i.e., through a vein; IV) fluids. Patients who experience difficulty urinating may have a catheter in place to drain the bladder. Prescription pain relievers are used to reduce discomfort.
Patients usually are required to do simple breathing or coughing exercises to reduce the risk for fluid in the lungs. Physical therapy often begins the day after surgery. Within 2 days, most patients are able to sit up, stand, and walk with assistance. Stitches (sutures) or staples are usually removed in about 2 weeks.