How to Prepare for Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery: 6 Helpful Tips


Hip replacement surgery is a standard and highly effective procedure that can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with hip pain and mobility issues. Whether you’re scheduled for hip replacement surgery or assisting a loved one in preparing for the procedure, a successful recovery is the ultimate goal. Proper preparation can make a substantial difference in the outcome of the surgery. This comprehensive guide will explore six helpful tips to prepare for a smooth and successful recovery from hip replacement surgery.

Prepare Your Home for Accessibility

Returning to a home environment that is safe and accessible is essential for a successful recovery. Remove obstacles and clutter from hallways, doorways, and pathways to ensure unobstructed movement with a walker or crutches. Consider installing a Stiltz Trio+ Home Lift if feasible to accommodate a full-sized wheelchair. Also, install grab bars in the bathroom, and consider a raised toilet seat and a shower chair to facilitate bathing. Install handrails on staircases, secure rugs, and make necessary modifications to prevent falls. Arrange your bedroom so it’s easy to access, and includes a nightstand or table within arm’s reach. Additionally, ensure that your kitchen is well-organized and that essential items are easily accessible. Consider preparing and freezing meals in advance for convenience.

Plan for Post-Surgery Needs

In the days following hip replacement surgery, you’ll need specific equipment and accommodations to facilitate recovery. Ensure that you clearly understand your post-surgery medication regimen, including pain management medications, and schedule your first post-surgery physical therapy appointment before the surgery. In advance, you should also acquire any necessary assistive devices, such as crutches, walkers, or a raised toilet seat. Arrange for loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off, plan for easy-to-prepare meals, and consider meal delivery services if needed.

Arrange for Assistance and Support

Recovery from hip replacement surgery often requires assistance with daily tasks, especially during the initial weeks. Reach out to family members or friends who can assist with transportation, household chores, and emotional support during your recovery. Consider hiring a home care aide if you anticipate needing personal care, meal preparation, or medication management assistance. Arrange transportation to and from the hospital for the surgery and follow-up appointments. If you require assistive devices like crutches, walkers, or a wheelchair, ensure they are readily available.

Educate Yourself About the Procedure

Understanding the details of the hip replacement surgery is the first step in preparing for a successful recovery. Consult with your orthopedic surgeon to learn about the procedure’s specifics, including the type of implant used, the surgical approach (anterior, posterior, or lateral), and what to expect during and after surgery. Some key points to discuss with your surgeon include:

  • Implant Choice: Inquire about the type of implant (metal-on-plastic, ceramic-on-plastic, etc.) that will be used and any potential implications.
  • Surgical Approach: Understand the surgical approach your surgeon will take. Each process has its advantages and considerations.
  • Anesthesia: Discuss the options available and any preferences or concerns you may have.
  • Surgery Duration: Get an estimate of how long the surgery will take.
  • Hospital Stay: Ask about the anticipated length of your hospital stay.
  • Rehabilitation Plan: Discuss the rehabilitation plan, including physical therapy and mobility expectations during recovery.

Preoperative Physical Conditioning

Preparing your body for surgery can improve your overall fitness and enhance your ability to recover. Consult your surgeon and physical therapist to develop a preoperative conditioning plan that may include strengthening exercises targeting the muscles around the hip joint, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and stretching exercises to improve joint mobility. The plan may also encompass balance training, enhancing balance to reduce the risk of falls during recovery, or aerobic conditioning to maintain cardiovascular fitness, which can improve your body’s ability to heal.

Adopt a Positive Mindset

Recovery from hip replacement surgery can be physically and emotionally challenging, but maintaining a positive mindset can significantly impact your progress. Understand that healing takes time, and there may be moments of discomfort. Focus on gradual improvement. Stay informed about your recovery process so you know what to expect at each stage, and engage in activities that bring you joy and help pass the time during recovery, such as reading, listening to music, or pursuing a hobby. Don’t hesitate to contact your support network for encouragement and assistance. Finally, acknowledge and celebrate each milestone achieved during your recovery journey, no matter how small.

Preparing for recovery from hip replacement surgery involves a combination of physical preparation, home modifications, emotional readiness, and a strong support network. Following these six helpful tips and working closely with your medical team can increase the likelihood of a successful and smooth recovery process. Remember that every individual’s experience with hip replacement surgery is unique, so it’s essential to tailor your preparations to your specific needs and circumstances. With patience, determination, and the proper practices, you can look forward to a healthier and more mobile future after your hip replacement surgery.