When you're facing the prospect of a hip replacement surgery, you may be concerned about whether the outcome will be good or whether you're prepared.
On the first point, you can have confidence that patients generally have great outcomes. According to one survey, 87% of hip replacement patients said their post-surgery expectations were met.1
When it comes to being prepared, these 17 points will help you feel ready before you have hip replacement surgery. You should also ask your doctor for a complete list of pre-surgery to-do items.
- Lose weight
Your doctor may recommend that you lose some weight before a hip replacement surgery. This can help decrease chances for post-surgical complications. Ask your doctor for specific weight-loss goals and the best ways to reach those goals.
- Quit smoking
Your doctor may also ask you to quit smoking before surgery, because nicotine can slow recovery and cause complications. Ask your doctor for smoking cessation tips, if you need them.
You'll probably be given some exercises to strengthen your hip and the surrounding muscles, which can help you have a speedy recovery after surgery.
You can find 4 examples of hip strengthening exercises here: Other Preparations for Total Hip Replacement Surgery .
- Find a driver
You won't be able to drive for a few weeks after surgery—the exact amount of time depends on if you're taking narcotic pain medications and when your full strength and reflexes return. So arrange for friend or family member to drive you when you need to leave the house.
The good news is you'll probably have a temporary tag for disabled parking spaces.
- Avoid blood thinners
If you take medications that cause your blood to be thinner—such as aspirin or NSAIDs like Advil—you may be asked to stop taking them a few weeks beforehand.
- Start newly prescribed medications/supplements
You may be directed to start new medications or supplements in preparation for surgery, such as iron supplements, which can help prevent post-surgical anemia.
- Simplify nighttime
If you can, move your bed to the ground floor so you don't have to use the stairs. It's also helpful to raise the level of the bed, so it's not too difficult to get in and out of.
- Bank your blood
You may be encouraged to give blood before the procedure so your own blood can be used if you need a transfusion.
- Be ready to use hot and cold therapies
Get a heating pad and ice pack, so you're ready to use heat or ice therapy to relieve pain after surgery. You may also want to get some adhesive warming patches.
- Plan for ergonomic sitting
Make sure you have a firm chair with arms and a high seat to sit in after surgery. You can use cushions to raise the seat level, if needed.
- Install railings
Wall railings can be helpful on stairwells (if you don't have them already) and in the bathroom next to the toilet and tub.
- Plan for safe sitting in the bathroom
Get a shower chair and a toilet seat lift to make bathroom activities easier and safer.
- Learn to use walking aids
In order to get around safely while your hip is healing, you will need a walker or cane after surgery. Before you buy one, check and see if your doctor or hospital will provide one for your use. Learn how to use it properly, and even consider practicing prior to surgery.
- Invest in reaching aids
Devices like a pole with a claw at the end or a long-handled shoehorn can help you pick up items or put on shoes without bending over and straining your hip.
- Rearrange commonly used items
Move commonly-used items in the kitchen and elsewhere to be at waist level, not in lower cupboards. You also might want to have a cart to hold your most needed items, such as remote, portable phone, tissue box, etc.
- Remove rugs and cords
Make sure to eliminate possible tripping hazards by removing loose rugs and rearranging electrical cords, if needed.
- Stock up
Stock up on staples like canned foods, pre-made meals, and toiletry items before surgery. If possible, arrange for someone who can bring you meals or perishable items like milk and eggs during your recovery.
- Mancuso et al. Fulfillment of Patients' Expectations for Total Hip Arthroplasty. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. 2009 Sep;91(9):2073-2078.