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“What About My Recovery From Hip Replacement?”

January 18th, 2011

When patients are preparing for hip replacement surgery, I typically answer the following three questions about their recovery from hip replacement — “What Will Happen During My Recovery From Hip Replacement?” and “How Long Is The Recovery?” and “Will I experience Pain During Hip Replacement Recovery?”

Here are my thoughts given those questions:

  • Everybody recovers from surgery in his or her own way. Recovery from hip replacement surgery is no different. In most cases full weight on the operative limb is permitted immediately after surgery. The use of ambulatory aids such as a walker or crutches are used until balance and strength is regained. Depending on your healing potential you may be without the ambulatory aids as early as 10 days. In slower healers this may be extended for up to 6 weeks. Full recovery again is patient dependent. The range is 6 weeks to 6 months; with the average time to full recovery is 3 months.
  • Hip replacements require a 2-4 day stay in the hospital in the majority of cases. The first few days can be painful, primarily as a result of the incision

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    . Pain is controlled with medication by mouth or intravenously. In many cases an epidural catheter is placed for 12-36 hours. Pain medicine is introduced through the catheter and dulls or eliminates the surgical pain while still allowing you to move. Following the first few days the pain resolves quickly.

  • The best point regarding hip replacements is how successfully the preoperative arthritic pain is resolved. This procedure will predictably restore a patient’s lifestyle in almost every case. This accurate prediction as always depends on establishing the correct preoperative diagnosis and assuring that there is no overlapping neurogenic reason for hip pain.  As always please check with and question your own surgeon regarding his estimate of your recovery.

I hope that helps you learn more about the recovery from hip replacement surgery.

Best regards,

About the Author: Dr. Stuart Gold, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who has 23 years experience specializing in sport injuries, joint replacement, arthritis and limb salvage. As the Director of the Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Gold recently published The Patient's Guide To Orthopedic Surgery to help patients better understand the challenges, risks and opportunities of orthopedic care.

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