Millions of Americans undergo hip replacement surgery every year. Hip replacement can lessen pain, increase mobility, and allow patients to live more active lives. But the surgery isn’t exactly a walk in the park. If you’re going in for hip surgery, you’ll need a few weeks to prepare. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your surgery goes well—and you recover quickly.
Get all the info you need from the doctor
Be sure you understand the procedure. Ask how you’ll be admitted to the hospital, how early you need to be there, the type of anesthesia you’ll need, the type of implant you’ll receive, how long you’ll be in the hospital, and any special directions for recovery and managing pain afterward. Always be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions about the procedure. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.
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Hip surgery is a major medical procedure—and it can take a long time to recover.
A lot of people will be asking you questions as it gets closer to the surgery date—about your medical history, your insurance coverage, any do-not-resuscitate and other arrangements, and so on. If you can get all this information together and in an easily-accessible place, you’ll have an easier time answering.
The information packet you put together should include contact info for a designated primary contact during the surgery; a list of all your current doctors and their contact info; a list of your medical history and all past operations; a list of your medications, dosages, and frequencies; allergies or adverse reactions to drugs and other substances; dietary or immune system problems; and all your insurance information; and a copy of your will and power of attorney.
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Sort out end-of-life issues
While fatalities are unlikely, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Be sure your will is up to date and you have legal documents stating your resuscitation preferences if something does go wrong. Get a signed power of attorney, and be sure you’re an organ donor if that’s something you want. Bring a copy of your power of attorney to the hospital.
Break bad habits
Smoking can change the pattern of your blood flow, as well as inhibiting healing. If you smoke, try to quit or at least cut down in preparation for surgery. The same goes for any other types of controlled substances—if you take any, you should tell your doctor about them. Eat healthy meals—your doctor may recommend a weight loss regime if you’re overweight. Don’t drink alcohol at least 48 hours before the big day.
Get in shape
Strengthening your upper body will help you get around when you’re stuck with a walker or crutches during the recovery phase. Isometric exercise can also help you make your legs stronger—which will speed up recovery and make it easier to get around while you recover.
Ask your doctor for an exercise plan that will help you build up strength and endurance before the surgery. Stronger legs will help you become mobile sooner after the surgery, and a strong upper body will come in useful, too.
Hip surgery is a major medical procedure—and it can take a long time to recover. But it can be easier if you can prepare for it well enough ahead of time. Follow these tips, and you’re much more likely to recover from the surgery quickly—and assure that your surgery goes smoothly. However, everyone isn’t the same—and your doctor may have some specific recommendations for you, depending on your health situation. Talk to your doctor before the surgery, and be sure to get all your questions answered.