After hip replacement surgery you will be moved into the recovery room, where you will stay for several hours. During this time, you will be monitored until you awaken, at which time you will be taken to your hospital room. Typically, you will stay in the hospital for three to four days, but this varies depending on how quickly you progress. After surgery, you may feel some pain that will be managed with medication to make you feel as comfortable as possible. To avoid lung congestion after surgery, you should breathe deeply and cough frequently to clear your lungs.
Possible Surgical Complications
The rate of medical complications following hip replacement surgery is extremely low. Serious infections, such as a hip joint infection, occur in less than 2 percent of patients. The most common cause of infection occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream during dental procedures, urinary tract infections or skin infections. After your surgery, you should take antibiotics before having any dental work or surgical procedure performed.
Blood clots in the leg veins or pelvis are the most common complication of hip replacement surgery. These clots can become life threatening if they move to the brain, lungs or heart. However, your orthopedic surgeon will have a blood clot prevention plan that includes medication and support stockings. If you do experience any symptoms of blood clots, you should call your surgeon immediately. Your doctor and nurse will discuss what symptoms to look for.
To help strengthen your hip joint, it is recommended that you do small exercises such as contracting and releasing the muscles in your legs and buttocks, and ankle pumps. Also, it is very important that you restrict movement in your hips. Your surgeon and physical therapist will discuss these movements with you.
Usually, you will begin to work with a physical therapist the first day after surgery. The physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to regain full hip movement. During your hospital stay, you will work with a physical therapist one to two times per day. An occupational therapist and nurse discharge planner also will help you prepare for your discharge from the hospital. After you return home, you will work with a physical therapist three to four times a week.
Length of Stay
If you are having the minimally invasive two-incision hip surgery, you will stay at least one day in the hospital. You may stay in the hospital up to three days if you are having a primary total hip replacement. If you are having a revision hip replacement, you may be in the hospital four to five days.