What to Expect After Your Hip Replacement
Post-Op Instructions from Dr. Sekundiak
Once Dr. Sekundiak has completed the hip replacement, the patient will be taken to recover in a private room. Many individuals are able to return home in the very same day as their joint replacement surgery, though an extended stay may be necessary depending on their level of pain and mobility.
Dr. Sekundiak provides a list of specific instructions to follow before they are discharged. It is critical that you fully understand these instructions, and contact our office immediately if you have any questions or concerns.
Normal Symptoms Following Surgery
Many patients become alarmed as they notice various bodily reactions to hip replacement surgery. It is important to remember that many of these outcomes are part of the perfectly natural healing process, including:
- Small amounts of inflammation (swelling) around the incision site
- A pink coloring to the incision
- Bruising along the operative leg
- Decreased sensitivity on the outer edge of the hip which may last for up to 18 months after the replacement is performed
Severe Warning Signs
Of course, there is always the potential for a negative outcome after an extensive surgery such as a hip replacement. Although these are highly uncommon, it is critical for patients to seek emergent care if they develop any of the following symptoms after receiving a hip replacement:
- Persistent and worsening pain or inflammation of the area
- The wound edges begin to separate from one another
- An offensive smell coming from the incision site, which may also be accompanied by thick, green colored discharge
- Recurring chills or shaking
- A fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or above
Patients should also stay alert to the possibility of a blood clot. Such an occurrence will usually present symptoms such as severe swelling of the lower extremities, soreness or inflammation below the knee, and pain of the lower leg that is unrelated to the surgical incision. A blood clot can be especially dangerous if it makes its way to the lungs, which will cause immediate chest pains, difficulty breathing, and coughing.
Ways to Manage at Home After a Hip Replacement
One of the most common concerns following hip replacement surgery is the amount of swelling that appears. As mentioned, some swelling is absolutely normal and to be expected, but extreme swelling can be a sign to a more serious issue such as a blood clot or infection.
There are several ways that you can limit the amount of swelling that occurs after a hip replacement, including:
- Lying down and keep the affected leg elevated above the heart
- Regularly applying ice for 15-20 minutes to the area while always keeping a buffer such as a towel between the ice and the skin
- Utilization of compression stockings provided by Dr. Sekundiak to improve blood circulation
Medications for Pain Management
There are a variety of medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed, that can be taken to help with pain after a hip replacement. It is advised to only take as much as necessary, as you should be able to wean yourself off of any medications after a few weeks.
Common medications advised by Dr. Sekundiak for a patient who has recently received a total hip replacement consist of:
- Prescription painkillers
- Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen
- Blood thinners
- Anti-nausea medications
- Stool softeners
It is very important for patients to speak with Dr. Sekundiak before taking any new medications, as they may cause unwanted side effects or increase your risk of potential complications. This same rule of thumb applies to any sort of medication, vitamins, or supplements that you regularly took prior to hip replacement surgery.
Contact Dr. Sekundiak for Any Additional Questions
Still confused about what to do after hip replacement surgery? When in doubt, it truly is best to ask your physician. They are the only individual with insight into your particular case, which makes them the best reference for any post-op concerns or confusion.
Please call (701) 417-6000 today to speak with Dr. Sekundiak, or come in to schedule a visit at our office if necessary.