Many Americans undergo some kind of joint replacement procedure every day. The following is a list of five things you can do to actively prepare for your upcoming hip replacement surgery and post-operative recovery period.
1. Attend All Pre-operative Assessment Appointments
A few weeks prior to your hip replacement surgery, you will likely be scheduled to attend various pre-operative assessment appointments to meet with your Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon or other members of the surgical team, such as the anesthesiologist, who will administer your anesthetic, and your physical therapist, who will design your post-operative rehabilitation plan.
You will be asked about your medical history as well as any previous surgeries, given an examination and various pre-operative tests, such as blood work, ECG, urinalysis, chest X-ray, and other. This is done to ensure you are healthy enough to have your procedure. To make this process easier to go through, take lists of all pertinent information (emergency contacts, medical history, insurance coverage, legal arrangements, etc.).
In addition, take a list of your current medications, both non-prescription and prescription drugs. Certain medications corticosteroids, insulin, and anti-coagulants) may have to be discontinued prior to surgery. Your Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeon may be able to prescribe alternative medications. Remember to mention if you have allergies to any drugs or anesthetic agents.
2. Perform Pre-operative Exercises
Prepare for your hip replacement by attempting to stay as active as possible. Strengthening your hip muscles will greatly assist in your overall recovery process. If you already see a physiotherapist, continue doing any gentle exercises they have prescribed for you in order to maintain or increase your pre-operative muscle strength and movement. Try doing activities such as walking and/or swimming in the weeks to keep yourself in shape, leading up to your operation.
3. Make Advanced Arrangements for Post-operative Care
At your pre-operative assessment visit(s), your orthopedic doctor in Los Angeles will typically provide you with advice regarding your home circumstances, so that your hospital discharge can be planned in advance.
For example, if you live alone, you will have to make arrangements for a post-operative caregiver to take care of you for a few weeks at home or consider going to a rehabilitation facility following your discharge. Your doctor will recommend appropriate placement options.
4. Organize Your Home in Advance
Following your hip replacement, you will not be able to walk, without aids, for a minimum period of four weeks. In addition, other types of movement (stretching and/or reaching over to pick things up) will be severely limited.
Also, you might want to consider making some temporary alterations to your home in order to make things easier for you while you recover. Some home modifications you may want to make include the following:
- Place anything you use all the time where they are handy to access.
- Stock up on easy to prepare frozen dinners and prepare and freeze your own cooking in advance to reheat during your initial recovery phase.
- If you live in a two story house, move your bed to the main floor until you can safely navigate the stairs to your bedroom.
5. Arrange for Post-operative Medical Devices
You will need to avoid putting your hip into certain angles following surgery including not sitting too low. Therefore, you will need to rent or buy a plastic shower seat and raised toilet seat for your bathroom(s). Additionally, many joint replacement patients find it very helpful to buy what is called a “reacher” or “grabber”. This is a handheld device that assists in picking objects up off of the floor and/or slightly out of reach. All of the above medical devices are easily available, either online or from local retailers that sell various mobility products.