Total Hip Replacement Protocol

Total hip replacement surgery is considered to be major surgery. As with any major surgery, it comes with a number of guidelines regarding the rehabilitation and healing period. This protocol will ensure that the recovery process goes as smoothly as possible. Expect that your surgeon will explain all of these requirements in detail prior to your scheduled procedure.

The total hip replacement protocol begins immediately following surgery. After you awaken from the anesthesia, you will meet with a physiotherapist or physical therapist, who will teach you strengthening exercises that can be done from bed. With assistance, you will usually be able to sit on the edge of the bed within 24 hours of the surgery. You may also be able to stand up or walk with the help of a walking frame.

Over the coming week, patients will continue with the exercise program, and will gradually increase the distance they are able to walk with a walking frame or crutches. Within this week, expect to begin walking up stairs with assistance. Most patients return home within 2-4 days of undergoing total hip replacement.

During the second week after hip replacement surgery, protocol calls for patients to continue the strengthening exercises. If they feel up to it, they may begin walking without the aid of crutches or a walking frame. Expect mobility to improve as the muscles heal further. The goals of physical therapy during this time include educating patients regarding dislocation prevention, increasing function and independence, and preventing post-operative mobility impairment

Patients are generally advised to return to their normal activity level gradually. Even if you feel up to it, it is important to take the recovery slowly and  follow the hip replacement protocol provided by your surgeon to avoid injury to the leg or hip. In particular, pay attention to weight bearing protocols. These vary from patient to patient, and concern when you are able to place partial or full weight on the leg.

Total hip replacement protocol includes a number of precautions that should be followed for at least 3 months, or as directed by your surgeon. These precautions are intended to decrease the risk of hip joint dislocation. These precautions are based on the surgical approach used to expose the hip joint during the surgery; certain types of hip replacement surgery may require more extensive movement restrictions for a longer period of time. In general, patients should avoid motions such as twisting motions, moving the operated leg behind their body or out to the side, or crossing their legs. Such actions can cause the ‘ball’ portion of the joint to pop out of the socket because the muscles that usually hold the joint together are weakened as a result of the hip replacement.

If you have any questions about total hip replacement protocol, either before or after your surgery, be sure to ask your doctor. Throughout the recovery process, adhering to these directions is critical to the success of your surgery. Following this hip replacement protocol will help ensure that you regain your mobility and stability as quickly as possible.

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