How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Hip Replacement?
The recovery time after hip replacement surgery varies depending on factors like the patient’s overall health, age, surgical technique, etc. This article will give you an overview of the things you need to take care of during hip surgery recovery.
Hip Surgery Recovery: What to Expect
The typical recovery time after hip replacement is several months to a year. Generally, bed rest for a few days is followed by immediate physical rehabilitation. Progress is gradual, with decreasing pain, improved balance, and increased mobility each week. A study showed that 46.7% of people experienced significant improvement, while 15.5% had worsened outcomes.
Types Of Hip Replacement Surgeries
There are 3 types—
- Total Hip Replacement (Total Hip Arthroplasty): In the case of total hip replacement, the entire hip joint is replaced. It is the most common type.
- Partial Hip Replacement: It is less common and involves replacing only part of the hip. These are usually performed in case of hip fractures or to remove any kind of tumors.
- Hip resurfacing: It is usually performed in young and active patients.
Recovery Time After Hip Replacement
The typical recovery time for anyone who has undergone a total hip replacement surgery is anywhere between six months to one year. However, patients aged above 50 years  might take longer to recover. Here is a general timeline that may give you an idea of what to expect:
Your hip surgery recovery begins within 24 hours after the procedure.
Hospital Stay: Typically, patients stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after the surgery. During this time, they receive pain medication, undergo physical therapy, and are monitored for any complications.
Post-operative period: It involves waking up from anesthesia and monitoring for any complications. In most cases, hip replacements are performed as outpatient surgeries. Thus, allowing patients to go home on the same day.
1 Week After
- After the 5th day, physical therapy continues with a focus on independence in daily activities.
- Pain management and medication adjustments continue.
- Patients engage in physical therapy exercises to improve their range of motion, balance, and strength
- Walking without assistive devices may be encouraged.
- Throughout the first week, patients receive guidance on post-surgery care, wound management, pain management, and activity restrictions.
- It’s important to note that individual recovery experiences may vary, and it’s best to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice.
10 to 14 Days
- During the first 1-2 weeks after a hip replacement surgery, certain milestones can be expected:
- Stitches that haven’t yet dissolved are removed, and it is generally advised to avoid getting the wound site wet for a few more days.
- Pain should have significantly decreased, and pain medication may no longer be necessary.
- Surgery staples will be removed, allowing for showers, baths, and walking without assistance.
- Mobility improves, and patients can move more easily without assistance.
- Some individuals who previously relied on a cane or walker may still need it during this early recovery period.
- Within 3-6 weeks, light activities of daily living can be resumed, without the need for crutches or a walker.
- Some discomfort or soreness may persist, particularly towards the end of the day.
- Approximately six weeks after surgery, driving should be possible again.
- Physical therapy should continue as recommended, along with regular walking and avoiding prolonged sitting.
- Most pain should be gone, and swelling further reduced.
- Patients can resume regular day-to-day activities, such as climbing stairs or bending.
- Increased strength and ability to put weight on the leg.
- Continued physical therapy and regular appointments are necessary.
- Walking regularly is highly recommended to maintain mobility.
Beyond three months
- Daily activities, including low-impact sports, can be fully resumed.
- Physical therapy exercises should be continued to improve strength, flexibility, joint motion, and balance.
- Exercises emphasizing weight-bearing and the correct body mechanics are beneficial.
- Regular follow-up examinations are advised.
Taking Care of Your New Hip: Essential Tips for Hip Surgery Recovery
Tips for caring for your new hip:
- Don’t bend your hip beyond 90°
- Stay away from twisting motions (of your hip joint)
- Take small steps when you turn.
- Avoid pressure on the wound
- Don’t cross your legs
- Be cautious with your hip and avoid discomfort
- Use raised toilet seats and avoid low chairs.
Risks or complications of a hip replacement
Here are the possible risks and complications of hip replacement surgery:
- The difference in leg length
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Allergic reactions
- When to Call The Doctor
When to Call The Doctor
It is advisable to call your surgeon or healthcare provider when you experience any of the following symptoms—
- Pain in the hips that don’t go away with medications or keeps on getting worse
- Shaking chills
- The outflow of fluid or any kind of bad smell from the site of the incision.
- Redness/swelling at the incision area (especially if it gets worse with time)
- Fever higher than 38°C
- Pain or swelling or redness in the calf or legs
It’s important to note that the recovery process can vary from person to person. Some individuals may recover more quickly, while others may take longer. Patients need to follow their doctor’s instructions, attend scheduled physical therapy sessions, and report any concerns or complications promptly.