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Timeline: Hip Replacement Surgery

Recovery from hip replacement surgery can be a long process. What should you expect? Everyone's case is different, but here's a rough outline of what will happen after hip replacement surgery -- from the day of the operation to three months later.

Hip

Day of Your Hip Replacement Surgery

  • You'll check in several hours before your scheduled surgery. Expect to stay for 3 to 4 days.
  • The procedure will probably last about 2 to 3 hours.
  • Recovery from anesthesia will probably take about 2 hours.
  • Once you're fully awake, you'll go to your hospital room.
  • You will likely stick to a liquid diet for the rest of the day.
  • You will need medication to help with pain and to prevent infection and blood clots.

1 to 2 Days After Hip Replacement Surgery

  • You'll get out of bed -- with assistance -- and start moving around using a walker or crutches.
  • You will see physical or occupational therapists. They will help you learn how to move safely with minimal pain. You probably won't be able to do certain movements for a few weeks.
  • The day after surgery, you can usually begin eating a normal diet.
  • You'll see many different people from the hospital staff, including doctors, nurses, and case workers.
  • You'll likely shift from IV drugs to oral pain medications.

3 Days After Hip Replacement Surgery

  • Walking will likely be easier. You may be able to walk to the bathroom without help.
  • You may be discharged from the hospital if you are doing well. Some people stay longer if they have complications.
  • Depending on your situation, you may go straight home or to a rehab facility, where you'll recover.

4+ Days After Hip Replacement Surgery

  • Follow your doctor's instructions for taking care of your incision. Keep the area dry and stick to sponge baths to prevent infection.
  • Report any signs of infection -- such as increased redness or fever -- to your doctor right away.
  • Keep doing the suggested physical therapy exercises.
  • You may get home visits from nurses and the physical therapist.

10 to 14 Days After Hip Replacement Surgery

  • The staples from your incision will be removed. At this point, you can start taking baths or showers.

3 to 6 Weeks After Hip Replacement Surgery

  • You may be able to do most light activities. You'll likely be able to walk without a walker or crutches.
  • You may be able to drive again

10 to 12 Weeks After Hip Replacement Surgery

  • You may be able to return to all of your normal activities.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on April 25, 2012

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