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What to Expect from a Total Hip Replacement: Week One

If you're preparing for a total hip replacement surgery, knowing what to expect during the first week of your recovery can help you feel more confident (and less anxious) about your journey ahead.

Because each patient and each surgery is unique, our team of orthopaedic specialists led David Dickerson, MD by at Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine reviews your pre- and post-op instructions with you so you feel informed, empowered, and ready for your new hip. 

In the meantime, here's a general breakdown of what lies ahead after your surgery.

Day 1: Surgery and same-day discharge

You'll wake up in the recovery room following your total hip replacement surgery. Our medical team closely monitors your condition and manages any immediate post-operative discomfort. It’s normal to feel nauseous and groggy after surgery. These are predictable side effects of anesthesia and should dissipate shortly.

You may be scheduled for a same-day discharge; in that case, you head home with thorough instructions for at-home care and rehabilitation. We may instruct you to wear compression garments. Once home, icing the treatment area helps to ease discomfort.

Keep in mind: You’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home, so be sure to factor this in when scheduling your surgery.

Day 2-3: Initial recovery at home

During your first few post-op days, you can expect to stay home to focus on your recovery. You'll likely start moving around, with the assistance of crutches if needed, and engaging in simple exercises to aid mobility. Continue to follow your medication management plan (which may include taking blood thinners to prevent blood clots) and focus on eating nutritious meals. 

You may benefit from a friend or family member’s help during these early days. Having a freezer stocked with meals is handy, so you don’t have to be on your feet cooking. 

Tip: Lying in bed may be tempting, but movement is important when recovering from any surgery. Follow our instructions regarding movement and actions, and always follow the recommended rehabilitation plan to avoid overexerting yourself.

Day 4-5: Progressing at home 

By now, you’re gaining confidence in your mobility as you continue with your prescribed exercises. If you have any follow-up appointments or virtual check-ins scheduled, make sure to attend them. Staying consistent with your medication regimen and engaging in light activities like walking around your home are essential at this stage.

Day 6-7: Adapting to your recovery routine

Your home recovery routine will continue during this period. Moving around helps prevent complications (like blood clots) and speeds up your recovery. Follow your physical therapist's recommendations and gradually increase your activity level.

If you experience any concerns or uncertainties, our medical team is just a phone call away.

Managing pain and discomfort during your first week

Pain management will be a key consideration as you recover at home, but discomfort should ease up as you continue your healing journey. Follow all pain medication instructions closely and take the medication only as directed. Reach out if you encounter any issues.

Caring for your incision

Even with minimally invasive surgical techniques, caring for your surgical incision is crucial to prevent infection. Keep the area clean and dry. If there are any stitches or staples, we may remove them during a follow-up appointment.

Nutrition and hydration

Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated contribute to your body's healing process. Focus on consuming nutrient-rich foods and drinking plenty of fluids. Adequate hydration can also help manage the potential side effects of pain medications, such as constipation.

Preparing for your surgery

It's important to remember that each person's recovery journey is unique. These guidelines can give you an idea of what to anticipate during the crucial first week, but remember that your healing journey may vary.  

If you’re suffering from chronic hip pain, contact us and explore the possibilities of a total hip replacement. Call the location of your choice 一 Shrewsbury or Toms River, New Jersey 一 or book your appointment online.

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