Hip replacement surgery is a common procedure to relieve pain, improve mobility, and enhance the quality of life for people suffering from hip injuries. The surgery is usually recommended when other treatment options such as medication, physical therapy, or assistive devices, have failed to provide relief. 

Preparing for hip replacement surgery can help patients get the most out of their procedure, conditioning their bodies to aid recovery and post-surgical care. Jonathan G. Yerasimides, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Louisville Hip & Knee Institute, says, “As far as preparing for hip replacement…the stronger you can come in, the faster you can get rid of your limp.” 

If you are preparing for hip replacement surgery, there are several steps you can take to ensure a successful outcome. In this article, we’ll explain how hip replacement surgery works, how it can help, and what you can do to ensure your procedure goes smoothly.

Why Would I Need Hip Replacement Surgery?

Partial knee replacement is a surgical procedure that removes a specific part of the knee joint and replaces it with an implant to restore function to the area. 

For several reasons, a healthcare professional may recommend hip replacement surgery, also known as total hip arthroplasty.

Common reasons someone might require a hip replacement include:

  • Osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints wears down, resulting in pain and stiffness)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (an autoimmune disease causing chronic joint inflammation, pain, swelling, and limited mobility)
  • Hip Fracture (resulting from a fall or trauma, can cause severe damage to the hip joint)
  • Avascular necrosis (a condition that restricts blood supply to the hip joint, leading to bone tissue death)
  • Hip Dysplasia/Hip impingement/Hip Labral Tears (can cause chronic pain)

Hip replacement is often the last resort for hip patients after physical therapy, medications, and other treatments no longer alleviate pain and have failed to restore mobility to the damaged joint.

Rather than treating the symptoms, hip replacement surgery removes the affected bone and tissues, relieving pain and increasing mobility by treating the issue at the source.

What Happens During Hip Replacement?

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or diseased hip joint is replaced with a prosthesis. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed by the femoral head (the ball-shaped portion of the thigh bone) and the acetabulum (the socket in the pelvis).

The damaged or diseased parts of the hip joint, including the femoral head and the damaged cartilage from the acetabulum, are removed during hip replacement surgery. They are replaced with prosthetic components, typically consisting of a metal stem inserted into the femur, a metal or ceramic ball that replaces the femoral head, and a socket (acetabular cup) inserted into the acetabulum.

The prosthetic may be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. The prosthetic components may be fixed in place with cement or press-fit into the bone, depending on the type of implant used and the patient’s physical condition.

Hip replacement surgery can be performed using different surgical approaches, such as the posterior, anterior, or lateral approach. The surgical technique may vary depending on the surgeon’s preferences and expertise. Our practice performs the outpatient anterior hip replacement approach, allowing most patients to go home the same day. The benefits of outpatient procedures for hip replacement include less blood loss and a faster recovery time.

The recovery time and rehabilitation process after hip replacement surgery can vary depending on the surgical procedure and individual factors, such as the patient’s age, overall health, and level of physical activity. It’s essential to follow the postoperative care instructions provided by the surgeon and healthcare team for optimal recovery and outcomes.

How Can I Prepare for My Hip Replacement Surgery?

Because hip replacement is a major surgery, strengthening the body in preparation for the procedure can help expedite the recovery process. Dr. Yerasimides says, “Most people can’t do prehab (muscle-strengthening and conditioning), because their condition limits what they can do. I have patients who do a water therapy prehab because it offloads their body weight.”

As part of these preparations, Dr. Yerasimides suggests strengthening the abductor muscles, which are crucial in maintaining balance as you swing your legs. Unfortunately, Dr. Yerasimides says, “It’s tough to strengthen these muscles because the pain is usually too much for you to accomplish anything.”

However, patients seeking hip replacement can do a few things to prepare for this major surgery. The first and most crucial step is to consult with your doctor, who will evaluate your condition, discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure, and answer questions.

The next step is to prepare your home, making navigating easier as you recover. To ensure your recovery is as smooth as possible, prepare your home in advance with the help of a friend, family member, or neighbor. Remove tripping hazards, such as loose rugs or electrical cords, and install grab bars and handrails in the bathroom and other areas where you may need assistance.

In the weeks before the procedure, try to arrange for a family member or friend to stay with you for the first few days following surgery. You may also need to arrange for a home health aide or physical therapist to assist with your recovery. After you are discharged, you will need assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and preparing meals.

As part of his pre-surgical preparations, Dr. Yerasimides’s team ensures that every patient has informational handouts with instructions to prepare them and their caregiver for surgery and the recovery process.

Managing your weight in the weeks following the procedure can also help lessen the impact on your joint post-surgery. Carrying excess body weight places stress on your hip joint, exacerbating your symptoms and may slow the recovery process. If your doctor determines you are overweight, they may recommend that you lose additional weight before the surgery to reduce the risk of complications.

Are You Ready for a Hip Replacement?

Choosing to undergo hip replacement surgery is a significant life decision. However, for many patients, the choice is simple and means living in discomfort and free from pain.

At Louisville Hip & Knee Institute, Dr. Yerasimides and his team are standing by to help prepare you for your hip replacement surgery. Our experienced, caring staff supports patients through each treatment step, from pre-surgical consultations to aftercare and rehabilitation. 

Considering hip replacement surgery?

Give us a call today to find out if a hip replacement is right for you.

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