A patient may be asked to make several preparations before undergoing hip replacement surgery. Pre-surgical preparations aim to increase the likelihood of a successful surgery and recovery, and typically fall into three broad categories:
- Medical preparations, such as a temporary stoppage of certain maintenance medications, or starting new pre-operative medications
- Pre-surgical weight loss and hip strengthening exercises
- Home preparations to accommodate a patient’s needs during recovery
This article discusses commonly recommended pre-surgical preparations for total hip replacement surgery. It is important to note that patients scheduled for joint replacement surgeries should not stop taking medications, engage in moderate exercise, or make other health decisions without consulting their doctors.
Commonly required and suggested medical preparations
The medical preparations described below are typical for total hip replacement surgery and other major surgeries requiring general anesthesia. A surgeon and hospital should clearly communicate any required medical preparations to the patient well before the time of surgery. Patients who have specific questions or concerns regarding medical preparations should contact their surgeons’ offices.
- Two weeks before surgery, a patient may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as:
- Aspirin, NSAIDS (e.g., Aleve, Advil), and other medications that make it more difficult for blood to clot.
- Steroids and other medications that suppress the immune system and therefore may increase the chance of post-surgical infection.
- A patient may be asked to start taking certain supplements and medications, such as iron supplements to reduce the risk of post-surgical anemia.
- A patient may be told to eliminate or cut down on smoking, since nicotine slows healing and increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly blood clot in a deep vein, after surgery.
- Patients may be asked to bank blood (donate their own blood for later retrieval) in case a blood transfusion is needed during surgery.
- People who frequently get urinary tract infections may need to be evaluated by a urologist to reduce the chance of developing one during or after the surgery, because many patients will require a urinary catheter when placed under anesthesia.
- Men with prostate disease may need to receive treatment before surgery.
- Patients who have other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may be required to consult specialists in those areas to make sure they are able to undergo surgery.
- Patients who have more than 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per day should tell their doctors, as heavy alcohol use can affect anesthesia.
- Patients who get sick (e.g., cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout) in the days preceding a surgery should report it to their doctors.
A patient should tell the surgeon about any medications they take, including homeopathic medications and nutritional supplements, and make sure they are safe to take before and after surgery.