Usually done in old age, hip replacement surgery is quite a major operation and hence takes sufficient care, time and exercise to recover fully from it. Although most patients have similar questions around the recovery process and the time it takes to recover fully, there can be no definite answer to these questions as each person’s case varies significantly.
Yet, the fact is that one should be mentally prepared for taking due care for around 3 to 6 months for returning to their normal daily routine. Broadly, the recovery can be divided into two segments:
Short-term recovery involves the patient to start walking with minimal or no aids and being shifted from major pain relievers to simple medications. This type of post-op recovery takes around 10 to 12 weeks. It includes getting out of the hospital bed, starting to walk with the help of a walker on day 1 or day 2, and getting stabilized in the movement. Further, if things are favorable, the patient is typically discharged on day 3. By this time, the patient is able to have a sound sleep overnight without taking pills. Even after the discharge, the patient is typically on the walking aids but the pain subsides gradually. Once the person is off the walking aids and is able to walk sufficiently without the pain or resting in between, the patient is exhibiting good signs of a favorable short term recovery.
Long-term recovery involves the complete healing of the hip area including the surgical wounds and the internal tissues. With this type of recovery, the patient returns to the normal life activities without any external support or extra medications. It is at this point of time, that the patient is advised to resume work and other activities as routine. Another sign of total recovery is when the patient starts to feel normal again and there is no pinch of pain left in that area. In the language of orthopedic surgeons, the long-term recovery is marked by that physical condition in which the patient is beyond their arthritic pain and dysfunction which existed before the time of operation.
Other factors at play in recovery
Positive attitude, the nurses say, is most important in influencing the recovery of any post-op case. It gives them sufficient motivation to diligently work for their recovery despite bearing some amount of pain.
Information and understanding about the hip replacement surgery and the do’s and don’ts also help the patient in recovering faster.
Early activity is another significant healer which speeds up healing and recovery. Some patients take the initiative to initiate their walk right on the day get the surgery done.
Exercises and physical therapy are of utmost significance when it comes to the post-op recovery. The best way is to start under therapist’s guidance on day two after the surgery and continue with it for almost two or more months.
Strong support system from the medical staff also speeds up the recovery process.
Determination and positive attitude are keys to speedy recovery after THR.