Is hip replacement right for me?
Joint replacement is not for everyone. There are potential risks. Recovery takes time and success depends on factors like age, weight, and activity level. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can advise if joint replacement is right for you.
How serious is a hip replacement?
Having a hip replaced is a major operation. As with any major operation there are risks. Ask your orthopaedic surgeon for more details.
How much pain will there be?
Expect your new hip joint and wound to be painful for up to 12 weeks after surgery. There is a range of pain relief that may be offered to you in hospital. This could include ice packs, leg exercises, oral pain medicines, nerve blocks or patient-controlled analgesia. Most people say the pain is hardly noticeable 3 months after the surgery and continues to improve.
How can I prepare my family and myself before surgery?
Several weeks before you undergo joint replacement surgery, discuss your recovery with your surgeon and caregiver(s). Speak with your family members and/or friends about the role they will play in your recovery. Explain the recovery process to them and the care you will need after surgery.
How long will I be in hospital?
Everybody recovers at different rates. On average, patients go home 5 days after the surgery. This is getting shorter as patient care continues to improve.
How successful is this operation?
Many studies have shown that almost all hip replacements are successful in Australia. Success is measured by relief of pain and increased joint function. It is important to be aware that even the most successful procedures are not guaranteed to last forever. Replacement knee joints can become loose and unstable requiring a ‘revision surgery’ (repeat). The life expectancy of joint implants is difficult to estimate. Ongoing improvements in surgical techniques and instruments are helping the replacements to last longer.
How much movement will I have after the operation?
Generally, you can expect to lose some movement after surgery. However, you will be able to bend to do most everyday things. Some people complain of stiffness, especially after sitting for a long time or sleeping – but this goes away after walking a few steps. It’s quite a common feeling that usually diminishes with time. It’s not at all serious.
When will I be able to go back to work?
Everyone is different. Your surgeon will work this out with you and create a plan to protect your joint during the first few weeks back at work.
What else should I be aware of?
The way a hip replacement will perform depends on your age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. If you have conditions that limit rehabilitation you should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell you if hip replacement is right for you.