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Doctor examining a hip of a senior gentleman during an appointment.

After your hip replacement, you can expect to be at Penn Medicine for at least one night. In some cases, you may be discharged the same day. This will depend on your specific case and how well you are doing.

You'll begin working with our physical therapists before you go home. Our goal is to help you recover as quickly and easily as possible.

Here is what you can expect following your hip replacement surgery:

Immediately Following Hip Replacement

After your hip replacement surgery, you will be moved to the recovery room by your care team where you will be closely monitored for one to three hours. You will be cared for by nurses who will monitor your vital signs, care for your surgery site and manage your pain.

Moving After Hip Replacement

After hip replacement surgery, you will be encouraged to get up and walk with either a walker or crutches. Moving after hip replacement surgery is important because it helps reduce further complications and speeds up your recovery.

Managing Pain

Penn Medicine offers a unique pain management system for joint replacement patients called the Multi-Modal Perioperative Pain Protocol, or MP3. Our doctors evaluate each patient's needs and map out their pain management plan prior to surgery. By using different types of painkillers and monitoring your progress, we are able to effectively manage your pain and reduce the need for opioid use after surgery.

Preparing for Home and Rehab After Hip Replacement

It is very important to be prepared and understand how to care for yourself during your recovery. On the day you are discharged from the hospital, your doctor will provide you with information and detailed instructions on how to care for yourself once you are home, including:

  • Incision care
  • Medications
  • Required follow-up visits
  • Restrictions (for example, no driving, working or showering)

Your therapist will make sure you’re correctly using your walker or crutches so that you’re comfortable and not in danger. It may be necessary for patients to recover at an inpatient rehabilitation center. A Penn Medicine social worker will work closely with your insurance company to ensure that you are covered if it is determined that inpatient rehabilitation is necessary for you.

Once you are home, a physical and occupational therapist will come to your house to help with your recovery. We work closely with Penn Therapy and Fitness, offering physical therapy and rehabilitation beginning the day after you leave the hospital. Incorporating home exercise and physical therapy into your daily routine will ensure a quicker, easier recovery. Be sure to follow your therapist's instructions very closely so that you do not further injure yourself.

Important Hip Precautions

Your surgeon or physical therapist will discuss hip precautions that you must adhere to during the first six weeks of the healing process. If you have specific questions about activities, speak to your surgeon. Here are a few important hip precautions:

  • Do not do resistive exercise on the bike, treadmill or gym equipment for six weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid pillows behind your knees or recliners for six weeks after surgery as they encourage your hips to heal in a bent position.
  • Sleeping on your back is the best position for your hips. It keeps them straight during the healing process. If you are going to sleep on your side, be sure to use a pillow between your knees to maintain your hip precautions.
  • When choosing a chair, be sure that your hips are higher than your knees (so your hip is bending to fewer than 90 degrees) when you sit.
  • If you have only had one hip replaced, do not support your operated hip with your unoperated leg. Do not cross your unoperated leg under your operated leg when getting in or out of bed — this breaks a hip precaution!
  • Do not be afraid to walk. Walking is a great source of exercise. It strengthens your muscles, increases your flexibility and improves your endurance.
  • If your therapist disagrees with any of the above, or if you lose motion or fail to progress, call us immediately.
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