OSMI's postoperative hip replacement care guidelines are extremely important for patients to follow to prevent complications and improve recovery. Because patients have an increased risk of blood clots after hip arthroplasty, sitting up and walking (with support) are encouraged shortly after surgery, usually within a day or two. Pressure is applied through inflatable air sleeves or compression stockings to avoid blood pooling in the leg veins. Patients may also receive blood-thinning medications. Pain medications will be given for a time and gradually decreased as the pain lessens.
Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery
Physical therapy is one of the most critical components of recovery after total hip replacement surgery. Physical therapy at OSMI – Fort Worth involves comprehensive rehabilitation for patients after hip replacement in a state-of-the-art facility with the best equipment available.
Goals of physical therapy after hip arthroplasty include:
- Promotion of blood flow to the new hip joint
- Increased muscle strength
- Reduction of scar tissue development
- Increased flexibility and range of motion in the hip
- Unassisted walking
Successful long-term recovery also depends on not stressing or injuring the new joint, so adhering to the physical therapy plan is vital.
Possible Complications from Hip Arthroplasty
As with any surgery, complications with hip arthroplasty are possible. Hip replacement surgery is considered to be an extremely safe procedure in which 90% of patients express satisfaction with the outcome.
Possible complications after hip arthroplasty can include:
- Hip Infection: Although uncommon, the incision site or deep tissue can become infected. Antibiotics are routinely given after hip surgery to prevent infection. In rare cases, a major infection can necessitate replacement of the prosthesis.
- Hip Dislocation: Occasionally (less than 2%), the new prosthetic ball becomes dislodged from the socket shortly after surgery. In most of these cases, the surgeon can correct the displacement under sedation, and if necessary, a temporary brace can be worn to keep the hip in place.
- Hip Fracture: Small fractures in the healthy portion of the hip can occur during surgery. These usually heal on their own, however, if fractures are too large, other measures may be needed (such as pins, wires, plates, or bone grafts).
- Hip Joint Loosening: If the prosthetic components become overly worn, the joint implant can become loose and need surgical repair. Newer technology is continuing to reduce this risk.
- Leg length discrepancy: On rare occasions, a new hip joint causes the affected leg to be slightly uneven with the other, despite precautionary measures taken by the surgeon. Strengthening and stretching the hip muscles can be helpful in lengthening if contracture is the cause.
- Hip Stiffening: Soft tissues around the hip can harden into bone (heterotopic ossification) and cause the hip to stiffen.
- Allergic reaction: An allergy to the cement used in the hip replacement procedure is a rare complication.
Complete recovery from total hip replacement surgery usually takes approximately 3-6 months. While expectations from hip arthroplasty include decreased pain and increased range of motion, patients should not expect to be able to perform high-impact activities, such as running or contact sports. In time, less strenuous physical activities, like swimming, biking, golfing, and hiking can typically be performed.
If you are experiencing hip pain, please contact our office for an evaluation by one of our orthopedic surgeons. The Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute of Ft. Worth can evaluate, diagnose, and recommend the least invasive, most effective road to a successful recovery.
The professional team at OSMI is highly trained and qualified to evaluate, diagnose, and treat your hip condition by using the least invasive and most effective methods available. If you are experiencing hip pain or are concerned that you may have a hip injury or disorder and would like to schedule an appointment, please submit an online appointment request or contact our office at 817-529-1900.