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Recovery after Hip Replacement.

I prefer to use anterior approach to perform most of my hip replacement procedures. This involves a relatively smaller incision, less muscle damage during surgery, less pain, early discharge, less chances of dislocation as compared to other approaches and a quicker recovery.

Patients are able to stand and walk within 24 hours of surgery and are walking independently with a walker frame 48-72 hours after surgery.

You will usually stay in the hospital for 5-6 days. After surgery, you will feel some pain in your hip. Pain medication will be given to make you as comfortable as possible.

To avoid lung congestion after surgery, you will be asked to breathe deeply and cough frequently.

Walking and light activity are important to your recovery and will begin the day of or the day after your surgery. The physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to strengthen your hip and restore movement for walking and other normal daily activities.

You will have stitches or staples running along your wound or a suture beneath your skin. The stitches or staples will be removed approximately 2 weeks after surgery.

Avoid getting the wound wet until it has thoroughly sealed and dried. A bandage may be placed over the wound to prevent irritation from clothing or support stockings.

To assure proper recovery and prevent dislocation of the prosthesis, you must take special precautions:

  • Do not cross your legs
  • Do not bend your hips more than a right angle (90°).
  • Do not turn your feet excessively inward or outward
  • Use a pillow between your legs at night when sleeping until you are advised by your orthopaedic surgeon that you can remove it.


The complication rate following hip replacement surgery is low. Serious complications, such as joint infection, occur in fewer than 2% of patients. Major medical complications, such as heart attack or stroke, occur even less frequently. However, chronic illnesses may increase the potential for complications. Although uncommon, when these complications occur they can prolong or limit full recovery.

Blood clots in the leg veins or pelvis are the most common complication of hip replacement surgery. You will be prescribed one or more measures to prevent blood clots from forming in your leg veins or, if they do form, measures to prevent them from becoming symptomatic. These measures may include special support hose, inflatable leg coverings, ankle pump exercises, and blood thinners.

Leg-length inequality may occur or may become or seem worse after hip replacement. Your orthopaedic surgeon will take this into account, in addition to other issues, including the stability and biomechanics of the hip. Some patients may feel more comfortable with a shoe lift after surgery.

Other complications such as dislocation, nerve and blood vessel injury, bleeding, fracture, and stiffness can occur. In a small number of patients, some pain can continue or new pain can occur after surgery.

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