Questions to Ask Your Surgeon.
Total hip replacement surgery is one of the 5 most common orthopedic surgeries and is expected to increase by 75% by 2025 according to Rheumatology Advisor. There are several types of surgical approaches to replace the hip and it’s important to ask your surgeon which approach they will use as this will determine the type of physical and postural restrictions you will have after surgery and how long they will last.
Recovery after a total hip replacement is similar for the different surgical approaches and typically takes about 10-12 weeks for most people without complications. At this point, you should be able to return to most of your normal activities, within reason, of course. You would not be ready to climb a mountain, but you can enjoy a walk in the park, a bike ride, a swim, or a dance class!
The follow-up visits with your surgeon are times for you to ask important questions about your recovery and restrictions. You may be wondering when the pain and stiffness will subside, or have questions about basic daily activities. It’s a good idea to come prepared with a list of questions in order not to rely on your memory.
Collect those questions a few days in advance to make sure you included all of your concerns:
1. Pain: this is a great opportunity to talk about pain management. How long will your joint feel stiff and achy? What are some non-opioid alternatives or other non-medication pain management options?
2. Driving: How soon can I drive? This will also be dependent on which side your surgery was on.
3. When will the restrictions be lifted?
4. When can I safely resume a sport or other activity?
5. When it will be safe to resume sexual activity?
6. If your doctor did not prescribe Physical Therapy, ask for a referral.
7. Make sure you have the relevant information to call or email in case there is any question you forgot to ask.
For a smooth recovery, work with a physical therapist and seek out support from family, friends, and others who have been through the experience. Remember, your recovery is unique to you, your history, and your environment. Give yourself the grace to accept the bad days and good ones. With perseverance, you will feel good about progress and outcomes!