When Will My Hip Incision Heal
The incisions for a hip replacement surgery nowadays are very small and are closed up with absorbable sutures, explains Thakkar. The incision is covered with a dressing and takes about six weeks to heal. During this time, its OK to shower, but to reduce the risk of infection, bathing and swimming should be put off until the wound fully heals.
When Can Hip Replacement Patients Return To Work
The first question many hip replacement candidates ask is If I have this surgery, when can I return to work? The recovery process is unique to each patient, but experts generally say that people with:
- Sedentary or desk jobs may be able to return to work after 4 or 6 weeks.
- Manual labor jobs, such as construction and landscaping, not to return to work. The frequent and repetitive pressure on the new hip may cause it to wear out prematurely, requiring a second surgery.
- Mixed labor jobs, which require frequent standing or occasional bending or lifting may return to work after approximately 3 months.
Prospective patients should talk to their surgeon about returning to work before surgery is scheduled.
Questions About Managing After Surgery
Will the surgery affect my abilities to care for myself? Yes. You will have limited mobility initially after surgery and will be using an aid to walk with for at least 6 weeks. You may need assistance after surgery with transportation, meals, bathing, etc. Please click here for more information.
When can I drive? I know the book says I can’t drive for at least 6 weeks but can I drive anyway since it is my left leg?
Normally for all patients who have hip and knee replacement surgery your surgeon will advise no driving for 6 weeks post-operatively. Your insurance company may not cover you during these 6 weeks no matter which leg was operated on.
How mobile will I be after my surgery? After surgery, you will be allowed to bear some weight on the surgical leg and use an aid to walk with for at least 6 weeks. Many people are able to walk at least 30 metres when they leave the hospital and generally have no problems walking a few blocks, if not more, at 6 weeks.
Do I really need to use a standard walker?
Follow physiotherapists instruction to ensure walking safely. Your therapist will progress your ambulation as ordered by your surgeon and as your ability improves.
Can I use my crutches instead of the walker?
Again your physiotherapist will determine when you may do this.
Who will take care of me after I leave the hospital? Please click here for more information.
When can I shower?
Will the surgery affect the way I sleep?
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When Can I Drive After My Hip Replacement
Most patients brake reaction time had returned to baseline level or better within 2 weeks of undergoing total hip arthroplasty, allowing the patients to be able to drive safely again, according to study results.
Researchers retrospectively evaluated brake reaction time in 38 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty . All patients had the brake reaction time assessed preoperatively to establish a baseline and again at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks postoperatively, or until brake reaction time was the same as or better than the preoperative score. The researchers obtained patient history to rule out the use of pre- and postoperative narcotics during testing. Patients were able to drive again when their brake reaction time was the same as or better than the preoperative baseline.
The mean brake reaction times preoperatively and at the 2-week follow-up were 0.635 seconds and 0.576 seconds, respectively. Results indicated 33 out of the 38 patients reached their baseline at the 2-week follow-up. The remaining five patients reached their baseline at the 4-week follow-up.
According to the researchers, the average preoperative time for the five unsuccessful patients was faster compared with the 33 successful patients, meaning the five patients who did not match their preoperative time at 2 weeks had a faster time to achieve in order to be successful.
I allow most patients to resume driving within 2 weeks after surgery.
Recovering At Home After Your Hip Surgery
You may feel very tired at first. You’ve had a major operation and muscles and tissues around your new hip will take time to heal. Follow the advice of the surgical team and call your GP if you have any particular concerns.
You may be eligible for home help and there may be aids that can help you. You may want to arrange to have someone to help you for a week or so.
The exercises your physiotherapist gives you are an important part of your recovery. It’s essential you continue with them once you’re at home. Your rehabilitation will be monitored by a physiotherapist.
The pain you may have experienced before the operation should go immediately. You can expect to feel some pain as a result of the operation, but this won’t last for long.
Contact your GP if you notice redness, fluid or an increase in pain in the new joint after your surgery.
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When Can You Put Full Weight On Leg After Hip Replacement
It is important to wait until your surgeon gives you the go-ahead before putting full weight on your leg after hip replacement surgery. This is typically around six weeks after the surgery. For the first few weeks, you will likely need to use a walker or crutches to get around. Once you are able to put full weight on your leg, you will still need to be careful and avoid any high-impact activities, such as running or jumping.
Common Activities To Avoid After Hip Replacement Surgery
Whether youve just had hip replacement surgery or are planning to soon, youll probably want to know what your life will be like afterward. Everyones life after hip replacement surgery is different, depending on the type of hip replacement, their overall health, the way they live, and other things.
Remember that your doctor and physical therapist are there to help you get better and live the best life possible. If you do what they say, youll have the best chance of getting better quickly and for good. Below are some activities that will need to be avoided after your replacement:
Do Not Resist Movement and Getting Up
In the days after surgery, dont be afraid to get up and move around as your surgeon or physical therapist tells you to. Even though it might feel too soon, doing this will help keep blood from clotting and speed up the healing process.
Do Not Bend at the Waist More than 90 Degrees
This includes bending down to tie your shoes, sitting in a low chair, or doing anything else that requires bending at the waist. These things make it more likely that the new hip will get out of place.
Do Not Lift Your Knees Past Your Hips
If you bend over too far at the waist, your hip can pop out of its socket. The same thing can happen if you lift your knees higher than your hip.
Dont Cross Your Legs
Do Not Twist or Pivot at the Hips
Try to keep your chest and hips facing the same direction as much as possible as a general rule of thumb.
Do Not Rush the Healing Process
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Return To Driving After Hip Replacement
Return to driving is an important functional landmark for patients and so is one of the most frequently asked questions asked by patients undergoing hip and knee replacement.However, despite the importance that patients attach to this, there is actually very little in the way of regulation or formal guidelines.Licensing authorities do not detail or specify specific driving restrictions after hip or knee replacement. Instead, this is left to the discretion of the treating doctor.
The position statement of the Australian Orthopaedic Association and the Arthroplasty Society of Australia published in 2016 simply and vaguely advises that patients should not return to driving until: i) They no longer require narcotic analgesia and ii) They can safely perform an emergency stop.
The AOA position statement further states that the ability to perform an emergency stop varies between patients, but that in most cases this occurs between 4 and 6 weeks following a right hip or knee replacement.
However, the confusing issue is that this guideline was formulated by a group of senior surgeons who generally perform traditional approach hip replacement which involves cutting and then repairing muscles/tendons to the hip.In many respects, it is this muscle/tendon injury and repair which impairs a patients ability to move their leg confidently in the first few weeks post surgery.
This protocol is supported by recent orthopaedic research:
How Long Is The Recovery Time
Patients heal from surgery at different speeds. Typically, youll get asked to use crutches or a walker for about three weeks. Then, you can use a cane outdoors and walk without any support when you are indoors. After that, youll be allowed to return to normal activities such as running after about three months.
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How Long Do I Have To Follow Up
It is important to follow up with your surgeon after your joint replacement. In most cases, joint replacements last for many years. You need to meet with your treating doctor after surgery to ensure that your replacement is continuing to function well.
In some cases, the replaced parts can start to wear out or loosen. The frequency of required follow up visits is dependent on many factors including the age of the patient, the demand levels placed on the joint, and the type of replacement.
Your surgeon will consider all these factors and tailor a follow-up schedule to meet your needs. In general seeing your surgeon every 1-2 years is recommended.
In This Section:
Everything You Need To Know About Driving After A Hip Replacement
Understandably, patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery have a strong desire to return to normal activitiesespecially considering it may have been some time since they were able to perform them comfortably.
Driving is one vital activity that, prior to hip replacement surgery, may have been difficult or impossible. Medical and legal guidelines regarding when it is safe to drive following a hip replacement are currently somewhat unclear, made hard to legislate as everyone experiences a different healing process.
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How Soon Will I Be Up And About
The staff will help you to get up and walk as quickly as possible after surgery. If you’ve had minimally invasive surgery or are on an enhanced recovery programme, you may be able to walk on the same day as your operation.
Initially, you’ll feel discomfort while walking and exercising, and your legs and feet may be swollen.
A physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen your hip and explain what should and should not be done after the operation. They’ll teach you how to bend and sit to avoid damaging your new hip.
What To Expect After Hip Replacement Surgery
Complete recovery from a hip replacement surgery is a long process, taking several months to a year. It is important to pace yourself and keep up with exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your balance and blood circulation.
Immediately after your surgery, you will be lying on your back and may have a pillow between your legs to keep your hip aligned. You will be closely monitored by your care team and your surgical wound will be covered with a dressing. Your care team will encourage you to get out of bed, with the help of a physiotherapist, as soon as possible after your surgery either that same day or the day after.
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Returning To Normal After Your Hip Surgery
You should be able to stop using your crutches within 4 to 6 weeks and feel back to normal after about 3 months. After this time you should be able to perform all your normal activities.
Itâs best to avoid extreme movements or sports where thereâs a risk of falling, such as skiing or riding. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you about this.
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Can I Drive 4 Weeks After Hip Replacement
- It is generally recommended that you wait at least 4 weeks after hip replacement surgery before driving.
- This is to allow your hip time to heal properly and to avoid putting too much strain on it.
- You may be able to drive sooner than 4 weeks if your surgeon gives you the okay, but it is important to follow their advice.
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Complications To Watch Out For After Hip Replacement Surgery
Every surgery comes with a risk of complications. Although the risk of complications with hip replacement surgery is very low, you should stay alert to any signs of complications. Notify your care team immediately if you notice any of the following signs:
- A bad smell or discharge from your wound
- Fever, chills and/or shaking
- Pain, redness, swelling and/or tenderness in your calf this could be a sign of a deep vein thrombosis , which is a potentially life-threatening blood clot
- Worsening hip pain
- Worsening redness or swelling around your wound
Complications after hip replacement surgery include:
- A difference in the length between your legs
- Dislocation of the hip joint
- Joint infection
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Immediately After Your Surgery
Once your surgery is done, youll be taken to a recovery room, where nurses or other medical personnel will monitor your vital signs.
Theyll also help ensure that fluid is kept out of your lungs while the anesthesia wears off.
Youll be given pain medication while in the recovery room. You may also be given a blood thinner and have compression stockings put on your legs to prevent blood clots.
Once the anesthesia wears off, youll be taken to your hospital room. Once youre fully awake and alert, youll be encouraged to sit up and walk, with the help of a physical therapist.
According to clinical evidence, its thought that starting physical therapy right after surgery can help speed up recovery and improve outcomes.
Youll most likely need to spend 1 to 3 days in the hospital following your surgery.
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Driving After Hip Replacement
Patients usually desire to return to normal activities soon after hip replacement surgery with driving often an integral component of the recovery process. Prompt resumption of driving is also seen as a success soon after hip replacement surgery.
To date, there is a lack of medical and legal guidelines regarding a safe timeline for resumption of driving following hip replacement. Current literatures report a minimum of 6-8 weeks period before patients can safely resume driving, however this is based on outdated studies using traditional posterior hip replacement approaches, where 6-8 week waits are recommended for soft tissue recovery.
But more recently, anterior hip replacements have reported early return to activities. One study stated brake reaction times returned to pre-surgical values within 2 days after micro-invasive surgery.
Dr. Nizam has done one of the largest studies looking at when patients are safe to drive after anterior bikini hip replacement surgery.
Since the anterior hip replacement doesnt involve cutting any muscles or tendons, the muscle envelope around the hip joint is still intact. Hence the recovery is expected to be rapid with less restriction, less pain, less swelling and less muscle weakness.
The results of 212 anterior hip replacements performed by Dr. Nizam over a period of 14- month period revealed:
14% were driving within the 1st week
39% were driving within 2 weeks
76% of patients were driving within 3 weeks of surgery
Plan For Some Time Off Work
How long this will be depends largely on how you feel, as its most important to allow yourself enough time to recover fully before returning to your regular duties.
Up to three months is expected for rehabilitation following your operation. If you have a physically demanding job though, your return to work may take longer.
How you travel to work is also a factor to consider. It might be possible to explore a different way of working to aid your recovery and a smoother return to work.
And, this planning can be carried out before your operation, to give you added peace of mind and help you make the most of your recovery time.
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Planning Ahead For Recovery
Advance planning for your recovery will help things go more smoothly after your hip replacement surgery, particularly as there will be many activities that you wont be able to do independently and/or easily for some time, such as bathing, cooking and cleaning.
It is important to arrange for someone to stay with you for at least the first few days after surgery and ideally for several weeks. If you are unable to arrange this, you can speak to your care team about arranging visiting home care, or in some cases, you may be discharged to a rehabilitation centre.
Preparing your home
You will, perhaps, be spending more time at home than you are used to during your recovery. You will also be less mobile, so making modifications to your home before your surgery can help you get around afterwards. Consider:
- Attaching safety bars to your shower and placing a chair in your shower
- Buying self-help aids this includes:
- Devices to help pick up items that are far away
- Leg lifters to help you get in and out of bed
- Long-handled shoe horns to help put on your shoes
- Clearing any wires, loose rugs or other obstructions from walkways
- Installing a raised toilet seat
- Setting up the downstairs with a bedroom and any other items you need to avoid trips up and down the stairs
If you have any dental surgery planned for after your hip replacement surgery, your doctor may recommend taking antibiotics before your dental surgery.
Exercise and energy levels