Post Operative Information - Hip
Things to be aware of in the six weeks after surgery
Nursing staff at the hospital and during your rehabilitation period will educate you on what you can and cannot do after your surgery. Here is a list of the things you will need to be mindful of during your first 6 weeks.
Important things to remember in the first six weeks
- Sleep on your back, or on the un-operated side with a pillow between your legs
- Continue to observe the rules you learn from your physiotherapist during your hospital and rehabilitation period
- Patients with resurfacing hip replacement are advised to use a walking stick for the full six weeks after surgery
- Always use chairs which are at knee height or higher, with arm rests to enable you to get out of it easily
- Aim to keep your knees apart when bending to reach between your knees, rather than reaching to the outside of your leg.
- Do not bend over to pick anything up or lean forward to put on your stockings/socks and shoes
- Do not flex your hip more than 90 degrees (ie. pull up your leg to your tummy)
- Avoid lifting or carrying anything heavy
- Deep lounge chairs should be avoided
- Do not cross your legs when you are sitting, standing or lying
Wound care - generally, a wound from hip replacement surgery requires very little care. Most people have sutures that dissolve themselves and do not require removal. Before leaving the hospital, your dressing will be changed. When you commence your rehabilitation program after you leave hospital, hydrotherapy is safe 3 weeks after surgery, provided you have a waterproof dressing in place. It is important to keep the wound dry for a few weeks. In some cases, if the wound is inflamed or oozing, oral antibiotics may be required for a short period of time. In this case, you should contact our rooms straight away. If you cannot reach us (out-of-hours), you should contact the Mater Hospital or your GP. You should seek medical attention and remember the wound should be kept covered with a dressing until the oozing and inflammation ceases.
Stockings - You will be required to wear TED stockings for a period of time after surgery.
Pain medication - Patients generally only need Panadol or Panadeine after discharge from hospital. Dr Walter will ask you to see your GP if stronger pain medication is needed, as your GP is in the best position to manage your overall health and all your medications. Dr Walter does not prescribe narcotics to patients after they leave hospital.
Activities - During the first six weeks after your surgery, we recommend limiting your activities to walking with support, gentle swimming in the shallow end once you have been given permission to get the wound wet. We recommend you refrain from exercises such as pilates, golf and social tennis until three months after the date of your surgery. High impact activities such as running/jogging and activities which put your body into extreme poses, such as yoga, are not recommended at any time after hip replacement. If you are enthusiastic about a particular sport, please seek instructions from Dr Walter, as there are often ways you can modify your movement to keep your hip safe.
Sex - you can have sex whenever you feel ready, although you are advised to be the "passive" partner during the first six weeks and remember to avoid positions which involve internal rotation of the hip or leg.
Driving - The Roads & Traffic Authority states you should not drive for at least six weeks following a hip replacement. In order to be safe driving a car, you must be able to control the pedals properly. As you get to the six week mark, ask yourself if you would be able to stop quickly if a pedestrian ran in front of your vehicle. If you feel you could not react quickly enough, wait a little longer.
Travel - It is usually safe to take a short flight a week after surgery as long as you do not have blood clots in your legs. Long flights are best avoided during the first few months after surgery as there is a risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs). If you must travel, we recommend you wear TED stockings, mobilise throughout the flight as much as possible and if possible keep your legs elevated when seated during the flight. If it is necessary to travel long distances, then speak to your GP or Dr Walter prior to doing so.
Remember to tell your dentist
If you are having extensive dental work such as root canal therapy or treatment for a tooth abscess, you should ensure your dentist knows you have a hip replacement and provides you with appropriate antibiotics if needed. Arthroplasty Society of Australia has prepared a document specifically for dentists which can be found on their website.
Info for Dentists