Are there any major risks?
Most surgeries go well with no complications. There are two serious complications however, infection and blood clots. To avoid these, antibiotics are usually used during and after surgery as well as blood thinners. Special precautions are also taken in the operating room to reduce the risk of infection.
Will I need blood?
You may need to receive a blood transfusion after surgery. The blood bank is very safe, but if you want to use your own blood, please discuss this with your surgeon months before surgery.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Most hip patients are in the hospital 1 - 4 days after their surgery. There are several goals that must be met before you go home.
What if I live alone? Will I need help at home?
Where will I go after I am discharged from the hospital?
You can’t stay alone after you leave the hospital due to risk of falls while on pain medication, as well as due to your recent anesthesia and surgery. Most patients are able to go home directly after discharge from the hospital with assistance from family or friends. You may also have a home health nurse and physical therapist assist you at home several times a week, but you still need family or friends to be there to help with meal preparation, bathing and other household activities for several days or weeks depending on your progress. Case management will follow you in the hospital and help you with this decision and make the necessary arrangements. You may also go to a rehab facility (inpatient rehab hospital or skilled nursing facility that specializes in rehab) if needed. You need to know ahead of time what your insurance will pay for and you need to meet criteria to be admitted into a facility; not everyone meets the criteria. The case manager, physician and hospital can’t make insurance companies pay for anything that is not covered in your medical insurance coverage.
Will I need equipment before I go home?
YES. You should either be using a walker or crutches when you go home. The physical therapist (PT), physician and case manager will help you decide which is safest and how long to use each device. A three-in-one bedside commode might be needed, those items would be best purchased and installed before your surgery.
Will I need physical therapy (PT) when I go home?
YES. Home care PT or outpatient PT will have already been discussed with you and arranged for by the case manager while you are in the hospital. In most cases, home care PT is set up for two weeks with three visits per a week. After that, you will likely go to outpatient PT. Outpatient PT is also usually three times a week. The length of time required for therapy varies with each patient.
When will I be able to drive?
The ability to drive depends on whether surgery was on your right or left leg, the type of car you drive, your surgeon’s advice, and your state laws. You cannot drive while taking many types of pain medication; it is against the law. Depending on your surgeon, it could be more than six weeks before you can drive.
Will I notice anything different about my hip after surgery?
YES. Your hip could be swollen for 3 - 6 months after surgery. You may have some numbness on the outside of your scar which may last a year or more and is not serious. You may also have soreness in your hip up to 3 - 6 months after surgery; this should go away. If you hear a pop, have difficulty weight-bearing on your operative limb or experience sudden onset of pain in your joint, notify your surgeon immediately.