What is Rehabilitation Like After Hip Replacement Surgery?

If you’re considering hip replacement surgery, one of the key areas you’ll discuss with your healthcare professional is your post-operative recovery. 

Dr David Slattery has extensive experience in complex hip surgery, with specialisations in minimally invasive muscle sparing hip replacement and hip arthroscopy. Central to his practice is patient communication – to that end, Dr Slattery has prepared this article outlining a few key points about post-operative rehabilitation and recovery after hip replacement surgery. 

Is rehabilitation necessary?

Rehabilitation after an operation can help you return to your previous level of activity sooner. Hip replacement is a major operation which your body needs time to recover from. Following a proper rehabilitation program can ensure that your body has the best chance of recuperating after the surgery, strengthening the muscles around your new joint and allowing you to get back to life. 

What is involved in rehabilitation? 

Rehabilitation can take various forms depending on the specific needs of the patient after surgery, but broadly can encompass a programme of rest, targeted exercise, physical therapy and assisted movement. You’ll begin exercising before you’re upright, doing basic seated exercises while in hospital in order to begin to strengthen the surrounding muscle. From two weeks after your operation, more vigorous – but still low-impact – exercise such as a stationary bike, with hydrotherapy recommended from four weeks. 

Additionally, you’ll be required to walk with the assistance of crutches or a walker for up to four weeks. Walking on your new hip is one of the best ways to strengthen it, so walking for exercise purposes is recommended from eight weeks onwards. Expect to see a slow return to all activities and pre-operative levels of strength and balance over the following months, with some patients taking a full year to regain everything. 

What is enhanced recovery after surgery and can it help me? 

Enhanced recovery after surgery is a series of evidence-based practices employed before, during and after a procedure in order to help patients recover as quickly and as fully as possible. Within the context of hip replacement surgery, enhanced recovery after surgery could look like following a nutrition plan prior to the operation, regional rather than general anaesthesia during the operation, and early mobilisation and avoidance of opioids after surgery. 

According to a 2016 New Zealand study, use of enhanced recovery after surgery procedures for hip replacement patients reduced median hospital stay by a day without compromising the quality of healthcare provision. Every enhanced recovery after surgery programme is different and is responsive to the individual goals and needs of the patient – Dr Slattery will help determine what is to be included in your programme during consultation. 

If you’d like to know more, contact Dr Slattery’s rooms to make an appointment.

References:

  1. Soffin, E. and YaDeau, J. (2016). Enhanced recovery after surgery for primary hip and knee arthroplasty: a review of the evidence. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 117, pp.iii63.
  2. Stowers, M., Manuopangai, L., Hill, A., Gray, J., Coleman, B. and Munro, J. (2016). Enhanced Recovery After Surgery in elective hip and knee arthroplasty reduces length of hospital stay. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 86(6), pp.475-479.

 

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