According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, approximately 332,000 people in America have a total hip replacement each year. If your chronic hip pain has gotten you and your doctor talking about hip replacement surgery, there are a few things to consider before taking this critical step.
Lose Weight (Heavy Patients)
A hip prosthesis can only comfortably support a person of normal weight. If you are heavy, it is advisable to lose weight before your surgery. Most surgeons will not perform hip replacement surgery on any patient whose BMI is in the high 30s.
Research Your Surgeon Carefully
Once you and your doctor have decided the best course of action for you is hip replacement surgery, ask which surgeon he recommends. Then, do some of your own research. If you know someone who has had the surgery, talk with them and get an idea of their experience.
An experienced surgeon will have performed at least 100 hip replacement surgeries and does at least 30 replacements per year. Don’t be too timid to ask the hard questions. After all, this is your body that the surgeon will be working on.
See a Physical Therapist Before Your Surgery
It is a good idea to visit with a physical therapist before your surgery. She will get an idea of your current function so she is better equipped to help you afterward. Also, this “prehab” will help to strengthen the muscles in your hips and legs, which will lessen your recovery time. Furthermore, it will improve your circulation, which may help to prevent potentially-dangerous blood clots.
Stick with Your Physical Therapy
While it may seem like a common sense piece of advice, you would be surprised how many patients skimp on their physical therapy and refuse to do their at-home exercises. You may be worn out and in pain but this is the time to stick with your physical therapy and continue to exercise at home so you will experience your fullest recovery possible.
Avoid Drug Dependency
Some patients have an understandable concern about possible prescription drug dependency and even addiction. To avoid this potential risk, take your medications only as prescribed and pay close attention to how your body feels as you recover. You may not need as much of the medication as you begin to heal. If, at any point, you believe you are developing a habit, discuss this with your doctor immediately.
Hip replacement surgery can be intimidating but if you follow these tips, the process will go more smoothly. Within a few months, you should feel significant pain relief and an increase in mobility as you get back to your regular enjoyed activities.
Written by: Jaime Heidel, FizzNiche Staff Writer