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How to Prepare for Hip Surgery

Jul 15, 2014

For many years, physicians reserved hip replacement surgery for people age 60 years and older. The belief was that older people are less active and consequently, will put less stress on artificial hips than their younger counterparts. However, as technology has improved artificial parts and more doctors are performing hip replacement surgeries on young people, the surgery has become commonplace. There are approximately 285,000 surgeries in the United States and nearly one million worldwide each year. Once you’ve decided to proceed with the operation, check out the following tips for how to prepare for hip surgery.

Learn as much as you can about the procedure

Familiarize yourself with the type of replacement joints available, what the surgery process is like, and what you can expect during the recovery. Reputable orthopaedic websites such as the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) are great resources. Write down questions you have for your doctor as you think of them. That way, you’ll remember what you wanted to ask when you meet with him or her.

Get in shape and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet

You want to go into a hip replacement surgery in the best physical condition possible in order to have a smooth, speedy recovery. Upper body strength is important for navigating crutches or a walker. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the type of exercises you can do both before and after the surgery to maintain leg and hip muscle strength. If possible, borrow the device you’ll be using for the recovery process so you can practice with it ahead of time. Make sure to include lots of protein in your diet to help your bones and muscles recover after the surgery.

Go over your medications list

Make a list of all over-the-counter and prescription medications, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements that you current take. Discuss them with your physician before the surgery. He or she may recommend tapering off or stopping specific medications if they can impact bleeding during the operation or interact with anesthesia or medications that you will have to take during or following the surgery. Do not start a new medication or supplement without your doctor’s permission.

Prepare for life at home and work following surgery

Depending on the demands of your job, you may need a few weeks, or even a few months, away from work to make a full recovery. If you’ll be recuperating at home, arrange the space accordingly. For example, if your bedroom is on the second floor, set up a temporary bedroom on the first floor. Talk to your family and friends about the help you’ll need with daily routines, working, and completing physical rehabilitation.