As a Physiotherapist, our aim is always to help our patients avoid surgery when ever possible. However, there are certainly times where an injury has gone too far or is of a certain calibre and in those cases surgery is often the best option. When it comes to orthopaedic surgery, Total Hip Replacements are one of the original surgeries, with the first being done in 1891 in Germany! Since then the procedure has been refined dramatically and now days, it is considered a relatively ‘routine’ surgery. It is however still surgery, and like all surgeries, it comes with its’ own risks. The below are my top 5 tips for anyone considering a Total Hip Replacement and I highly recommend that anyone considering a total hip replacement takes the time to understand the procedure, the recovery process, the risks, and the type of care they need both prior and post-surgery.
- Understand what the surgery encompasses: It’s important to be aware of what the procedure entails—from pre-operative preparation to post-operative care and rehabilitation—so that you can make an informed decision.
- Prepare for a lengthy recovery process: Total hip replacement can be an extensive procedure, and it may take up to six months to fully heal. During that time, you may need assistance with daily tasks and will be restricted from certain activities.
- Choose the right surgeon: Make sure to research and choose a surgeon who is experienced in this type of surgery. There are several different techniques and approaches, so it is important to understand which one best suits your individual situation.
- Know the risks: Despite advances in technology and techniques, the procedure carries certain risks. These may include the possibility of infection, nerve damage, blood clots, and hip joint instability.
- Plan for your Pre-op and post-op rehab: Some people go into their surgery without having done any Pre-Operative Rehab. This can be a big mistake, as beginning the rehab process when pain, swelling and other post surgical implications are in place is significantly harder. Similarly, leaving your planning of post-op rehab until after the surgery often leads to a delay in starting the rehab process and less optimal outcome post surgery. I recommend knowing exactly where you will be attending your post op rehab BEFORE your surgery. This way it is a seamless transition and can decrease the amount of post-operative pain and recovery time. And of-course, it is important to research the facility and its staff before making your decision.
As a physiotherapist, I highly recommend that anyone considering a total hip replacement takes the time to understand the procedure, the recovery process, the risks, and the type of care they need both prior and post-surgery. It is essential to research and find the right surgeon and to consider the option of an outpatient centre as significantly reducing pain and recovery time. While the road to recovery can be a long and arduous process, by preparing ahead of time you can be better equipped to manage the journey and may even enhance the efficacy of the procedure itself.