A hip replacement surgery can seem like a daunting prospect, especially since despite modern advancements, it is still considered to be major surgery with several risks. It is your orthopedic surgeon’s job to make sure that your surgery goes smoothly and attends to the necessary replacement. The best thing you can do is prepare adequately for your procedure to ensure the best possible chance of recovery following the surgery by engaging in effective “prehabilitation.”
1. Learn About the Procedure
First, familiarize yourself with the basics of the procedure you will undergo so you can be comfortable with what your surgeon is setting out to do and feel fully informed. Educate yourself with the use of helpful resources, such as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Any prior knowledge you can absorb before going under will help you to put your mind at ease and reduce any anxieties you may feel about your operation.
As you embark on a journey to learn about what your surgeon will do, it seems only natural that you might develop some questions along the way. Don’t assume that your curiosities are “nothing to worry about” and put them to the back of the mind. Write them down and ask your surgeon or physician to walk you through the confusing or troubling parts of your research. It is in your best interest to go into your procedure with your reservations assuaged by a professional who is an expert on the operation.
3. Plan for Work
If you work or share responsibilities around your home, you should prepare for the impact that your hip replacement surgery will undoubtedly have on your day-to-day capabilities following your surgery. Recovery is relatively straightforward, but it will have a significant effect on your work and home life for a period of weeks or months, depending upon what you do. You may need to consider taking a period of time off from work, beyond just your hospital stay.
4. Prehab Is Important
Another component to a successful hip replacement surgery is the preventative rehabilitation that you should undergo to prepare the parts of your body that surround the hip to support the new joint effectively.
Below, you will find a list of low-intensity exercises you can perform to gently prepare your body for a better functioning joint.
Armchair pushups – sit in a chair with armrests and lift your body weight by supporting yourself with your hands on the armrests. Hold your position for 5-10 seconds and then lower yourself back to a seated position.
- Buttocks Squeeze – Lay on your back and squeeze the muscles of your buttocks together and hold this position for 5 seconds before releasing.
- Heel Slides – Lay on your back and drag your heel from its place next to your other foot up to your buttocks and then let it back down again.
- Leg Slides – Lay on your back and move your leg from its resting position outward away from your body, then return it to its resting position.
- Thigh Squeezes – Lay on your back and contract your thigh muscles while pressing your leg into the surface you are laying on.
5. Connect With a Physical Therapist
In the weeks and months following your replacement, you will undergo extensive post-surgical physical therapy to acclimate both your body and your new hip to one another and to your previously everyday tasks. Make plans to meet or talk with your physical therapist before your surgery so you have an idea of what to expect from your PT plan.
6. Try Out the Gear You Will Need for Recovery
You will be confined to crutches for some time following your hip replacement surgery. For this reason, it is wise to practice a bit before it is absolutely necessary that you rely on them for your ability to get around. You might also find you have a use for some reduced mobility gadgets in the time after your surgery. Research and order these ahead of time so you can be fully prepared. Some ideas include reachers and shoe assistance tools.
7. Enlist A Support System
Make sure your support system is lined up in advance. Right now, it may be difficult to imagine how much you will rely on them until you are in a position to need to. Whether it be family, friends, or a rehabilitation center, preparation is key.
8. Make Your Home Recovery-Friendly
It is wise to rearrange difficult spaces in your home prior to your surgery so you can recover peacefully and without logistical challenges. Put in railings, move high up necessities to a lower surface, and make sure your sleeping space and bathroom choice are readily accessible.
The team of experienced orthopedic surgeons at AICA Orthopedics promise to deliver top-notch medical and surgical care to our patients while striving to reduce the stress that can often accompany a major surgery. Contact our offices today to talk with us about your questions and concerns surrounding your hip replacement procedure.