How to prepare for hip replacement surgery

Hip replacement surgery is used to replace damaged or worn parts of your hip joint with an artificial joint. Designed to help reduce pain and improve mobility, most hip replacements are performed on patients between the ages of 60 and 80, although they are sometimes performed on younger patients eg in the case of a hip fracture

Once you’ve made the decision to undergo a hip replacement, it’s important to ensure that you do all you can to prepare for the operation. Preparation is just as important as following post-surgery advice. Your surgeon or GP can tell you exactly what you should do to get ready for the procedure. 

However, here are some general rules to follow when preparing for hip replacement surgery:

Reduce excess weight

It is a good idea to lose excess weight before surgery. Your doctor can tell you if this is needed in your particular case, as well as how much you should aim to lose. Losing weight can help reduce the chances of complications after your surgery, which can reduce your recovery time. 

Reducing unhealthy foods (eg high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt foods) and doing low-impact exercises, such as swimming, can help you shed excess pounds. If you struggle to exercise, your GP or physiotherapist can recommend ways to help you get active and lose weight. 

Strengthen your muscles

Your care team will provide you with exercises to do before surgery, which are designed to strengthen the muscles around your hip. This will help with your hip replacement recovery and help you get moving after your operation.

Simple exercises, such as walking and swimming, can also help strengthen and stretch your muscles. So staying as active as possible in the months and weeks prior to surgery is important.

Quit smoking

If you're a smoker, you should quit before surgery. Nicotine in cigarettes can affect your blood flow and slow your recovery. You’ll also be at greater risk from complications if you smoke before your surgery and during your recovery.

Using nicotine replacements is not recommended as nicotine is partly responsible for the complications caused by smoking.

The best option to reduce your chances of complications and a prolonged recovery period is therefore to quit smoking altogether before surgery.

Get your home ready

After your surgery, your mobility will be affected, which means it’s important to ensure your home is set up to reduce trip hazards. This may mean moving furniture around, removing rugs, setting up a place to sleep in a different room (eg in a ground floor room if your bedroom is normally upstairs) and making enough space to move with crutches or a walker.

You should make sure that everything you’ll need within the first week of your recovery is in the room where you’ll spend most of your time. This may mean setting up an area within easy reach for the TV remote, your glasses, books, magazines, phone and anything else you’ll need. Preparing and freezing meals in advance is also a good idea.

Consider what else you’ll need

As well as getting your home ready, think about what else you might need to make things easier while you’re recovering.

Railings in the bathroom can make it safer when you need to go to the toilet or take a shower.

Self-help tools, such as long-handled shoehorns and reachers can make getting ready in the morning and picking things up easier, respectively.

You should also double-check any safety features you already have set up, such as stair railings, to make sure they’re secure.

Arrange for help

After your surgery, you won’t be able to drive yourself home from the hospital. You should arrange for someone to collect you so they can help you into the car, get you home and help get you settled in and comfortable. It is also a good idea to have someone take you to the hospital rather than making your way there alone, as this can help ease any anxiety you may feel before your surgery.

Having people to help you during your recovery is important, so it’s a good idea to work out a plan with friends and family. This may include having someone stay with you for a few days, having regular visitors, and getting someone to do your shopping and anything else you might need.

If you don’t have people nearby to provide this support, you may want to talk to your GP about staying in a rehab centre after your surgery or look for short-term home care.

Pack your hospital bag

You should pack anything you need on a daily basis, as well as comforting items and things to provide some entertainment. 

Your hospital bag should include:

  • All medications you need to take
  • Clothing for each day
  • Slippers with a full back
  • Toiletries
  • Walking aids that you normally use eg your walking stick
  • Your glasses, hearing aid and dentures

You might also want to pack a book, your phone (and phone charger) and anything else you’re likely to want during your hospital stay. 

Ask questions

If you have questions, speak to your GP or surgeon before your surgery. This will help you prepare both physically and mentally and ensure you know what to expect.

We hope you've found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist

If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.

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Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor

Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.