What to Expect from Hip Replacement

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), lopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that your reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • Since you will have general anesthesia, you will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • You will have a dressing over your surgical site for the next few days. You will need to keep if dry and avoid showering.
  • Most patients can go home within three days.
  • This surgery has a quick recovery with most patients feeling much better within the first week, but full recovery takes a couple of months.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • While you may feel much better after the first week, you need to follow your physician’s orders on recommended activities.
  • You will prescribed a series of appointments for physical therapy to help regain strength in your hip.
  • While you will be able to resume walking and light sports, more strenuous sports are not recommended.

Hip Replacement Q&A

What does anterior hip replacement involve?

A patient is fully sedated. To access the hip, the surgeon makes one cut on the outside of the hip. The surgeon works through the intervals in the muscles, leaving the important gluteal muscles that connect the pelvis and femur undisturbed. With the muscles remaining intact, they will remain stronger to hold the hip joint in place. Once the muscles are moved aside, the surgeon can remove the ball of the femur and build the new ball and socket joint.

How many incisions are made?

One incision is made on the front of the hip.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients will normally stay two to three days in the hospital. Physical therapy will be prescribed to help you regain use of your mobility.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients feel better after the first week, but you should limit activities to your physician’s recommendations. Full recovery takes up to two months, but even then you should refrain from strenuous sports. Your doctor can advise you on what activities would help you regain your strength.

Orthopaedic surgeons at Wake Orthopaedics perform the anterior approach to total hip replacement surgery at WakeMed. Please call Wake Orthopaedics at 919-232-5020 for information about total hip replacement procedures, including the anterior approach.

For additional information about orthopaedic specialists, call WakeMed Doctor Choice at 919-350-8900 or search online