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Prepping For Hip Surgery: A Surgeon’s Tips

There’s plenty you can do to prepare yourself for the operation and your recovery.

As a hip surgeon, I know how people sometimes feel about operations. It can take a little time and courage to opt for surgery. And that’s completely natural. Operations can feel daunting. Even when you’re confident they will change your life for the better.

But let’s say you’ve decided to take the plunge and have a hip replacement. Or that you’re very close to deciding. What happens then? The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to prepare yourself for the operation and your recovery. Here are my top tips for doing just that…

Do what you can…

We all know exercise is important. Pre-op: doubly so, since your muscles will be out of action for a while. Build them up beforehand and, logically, you give yourself a head start. But do you notice a problem here? Many hip patients have replacements precisely because they can’t do exercise. Your hip hurts! Exercise is painful. So my advice to patients is: do what you can in the circumstances. Go for gentle walks. Do gentle stretching. Swim if you can. Try to keep yourself as fit as possible, without making yourself miserable.

Lose what you can...

What goes for exercise also goes for the waistline. The more weight you carry, the harder it is to get going again after surgery. You’ll be putting extra force through your hips. Your muscles will therefore have to work harder. Your recovery may therefore be slower, and potentially more painful. Losing weight also means your heart doesn’t have to work so hard, which means you reduce the risk of complications like a heart attack. So, again, do what you can to achieve a healthy weight before surgery.

Prep your questions…

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself thinking up Important Questions to Ask at random times of the day – only to forget them when you need to ask them. So find a notepad and pen. Keep a list of questions as they occur to you. They might be about the surgery itself, or recovery, or aftercare. Or anything in between. I use 30-minute consultation slots for just this reason, to give my patients a decent space to air their queries and concerns. Having a list of prompts is an excellent way to get all the answers you need.

Clear the diary…

We usually recommend that you take three months off following replacement surgery. That may sound like a long time. Working-age men often have a tendency to think they’re invincible! “I’ll have the op,” they think, “and be back to work the following week.” I tell them, gently, to think again. You’ll be overwhelmed with tiredness for the first few weeks. Your ability to make decisions will be impaired. It’s rather like having prolonged jetlag. Surgery takes a toll, so you need to factor that in.

Read ahead…

Following surgery, you’ll be discharged with a full physiotherapy plan and a list of exercises to do at home. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t get yourself up to speed beforehand. I have a little booklet that covers the basics: what to expect, how to live with your new hip. It’s well worth a read. I’m also helping to develop a new app – My Recovery – which will provide patients with a day-to-day guide to what they should be doing after surgery. More on that in a future blog…

Do a trial run…

In the days following surgery, your mobility will be seriously impacted. So have a think about the layout of your home now while you have the chance. If you’re particularly concerned about stairs, consider asking friends to help you move your bed temporarily. Though do bear in mind that you’ll be given crutches after the operation, and taught how to use them on stairs. Getting in and out of the bath is very difficult after surgery, too, so think about switching to a shower for recovery.

Phone a friend…

Hip patients need help with the basics after surgery, from simple tasks like washing to getting dressed. Not all of us have a partner on hand to do that, or children who live close enough to get involved. So think about who you could ask to help out. Or you might like to consider hiring a carer for the first week or two as you begin your recovery.

Get the kit…

For anyone who likes gadgets, one of the silver linings of hip surgery is that it provides an excuse to try out some new ones. Two key recommendations are raised lavatory seats and grabber tools (here’s an example of the latter ). Many hospitals will provide this kind of equipment for you, but you can also rent them from the Red Cross, or your local Red Cross store.

Thinking about having hip surgery? Why not drop me a line to discussWe’re always pleased to hear from patients, and to help them think through the options.

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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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02380 914483
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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