What will life be like for the fist month after Total Hip Replacement?
Given a local tissue block and appropriate medications by the anesthesia staff, you should have little to no pain after a minimally invasive posterolateral THR. In fact, you may be a candidate for same-day discharge, which is planned in advance. We will write prescriptions for tramadol and hydrocodone and, if allowed, you may supplement these with traditional anti-inflammatory medicines (Aleve, Motrin, Advil). Most patients cease these medications after a week or two.
THR—even in a minimally invasive fashion—gives the patient a sense of his/her leg being heavy and weak. Therefore, until you gain confidence in leg control (7 to 10 days), we strongly suggest that you supplement your gait with a walker or a cane. In most cases, you will be allowed full weightbearing to make walking easier. Use your walker for the first week or two to assist you in changing positions from bed to standing, chair to standing, standing to chair or bed, etc. As has been said, “Keep your nose and toes in the same direction.” Many voices attending you at the time of THR will provide copious hints and suggestions and tricks on avoiding awkward positions the first 3 months after THR. Hip dislocations are quite uncommon with tissue-preserving, minimally invasive approaches; and most of the cases are seen where the patient had an unfortunate fall. Make sure your domicile is as risk-free as possible (Don’t plan an accident)!
We will engage physical therapy to assure you are competent in transfer. Along with physical therapy, occupational therapy may also visit you and talk about appropriate devices to aid your recovery. Recovery from THR is not based on exercises but with progressive walking as the weeks roll by. You can proficiently proceed with recovery without attendant ongoing physical therapy—certainly after being postoperative for 3 weeks.
RETURN TO WORK
Workplaces are infinitely varied, but it is safe to say that sedentary workers can return in 4 to 6 weeks. Those on their feet for extended periods of time will require 6 to 8 weeks of recovery. Extremely demanding jobs with physical exertion may require 8 to 12 weeks before return.