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How long does it take to recover from hip surgery? A simple timeline.

How long does it take to recover from hip surgery - Jeremy Latham

Hip surgery generates a lot of excellent questions. Quite naturally, people want to know all about the process before they take the plunge. How does a hip replacement work – and how does it differ from hip resurfacing? What are the potential risks and complications? How much does an operation cost, if you’re thinking of opting private treatment?

But if there’s one question that occupies people more than any other, it’s this: how long will it take me to recover? It’s the number one hip-surgery-related search result on Google.

The truth, of course, is that post-operative recovery happens incrementally. That’s the case with any surgery. And recovery times vary from person to person, depending on factors like age and general fitness. Everyone’s different. Some people recover much faster than others. But that said, there are some general markers that prove true for most patients. Here they are….

24 hours

Immediately before the operation, you’ll be given a spinal anaesthetic so that you don’t feel any pain. You’re usually given an intravenous sedative as well so that you aren’t aware of anything that happens during surgery. The spinal anaesthetic will also provide pain relief for the first hours after surgery. The first day of hip surgery is surprisingly busy: as you come round, nurses will be popping in and out to check on you. We’ll also be giving you more pain relief to keep you comfortable. For most people, that means things like Cocodamol or Pregabalin, and morphine if you need it.

4 days

Most hip patients remain in hospital for about four days. During that time, we will help you take the first steps on the recovery journey. We’ll do an x-ray of the new hip to make sure that it’s in the right place. We’ll also introduce you to the physiotherapists, who will show you how to get mobile again, with a frame to begin with. By the time you’re discharged from hospital, you should be able to get in and out of bed independently, walk with crutches and manage stairs on your own.

2 weeks

On leaving hospital you’ll be given a package of painkillers to take you through the first few weeks. That usually means the “simple analgesics” like paracetamol and Cocodamol. Be prepared to be quite tired for the first fortnight after you return home. Hip surgery is physically and psychologically quite demanding for most people, and you will need plenty of rest as you recover. Make sure you have a good balanced diet too, with plenty of fluids: your body will need protein and calories as it recovers.

4-6 weeks

An effective recovery from surgery is actually a balance between rest, gentle movement and exercise. Over the next month you’ll be rebuilding muscle strength with physiotherapy exercises. You will probably check in with the physio team once a week, too. By four weeks, most people are also able to return to driving. Although the DVLA doesn’t require sign-off from a doctor, it’s important to pace yourself: ensure you can get in and out of the car quickly and safely, and that you can comfortably perform an emergency stop. You can find plenty of other helpful tips about driving in this NHS video.

Three months

For many people, three months is the magic figure for recovery. By this point we find that most patients have reached the point where they stop thinking about their hips. They’re back to the regular beat of day-to-day life, doing most of the routine things they did before. Recovering fully from hip replacement surgery can take up to 18 months in some cases. But by the 12-week stage you should be feeling that your life is back on track, and that the journey has been worth it.

Considering hip surgery but concerned about the recovery process? Please do get in touch. We’re happy to answer questions and help to put your mind at ease. Why not make an appointment to explore your options and aftercare.

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If you would like to discuss your hip treatment options with Jeremy Latham please get in touch…
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Jeremy Latham
Hip Surgeon


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Types of treatments available at Latham Hip Surgery
  • Treatments
  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Tens of thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s now an established technique, and the results are usually excellent in carefully selected patients…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s a relatively new technique, but the results are usually excellent…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more