Anterior total hip replacement is aimed at alleviating chronic hip pain and improving mobility. Preparing for this surgery involves several important steps to ensure a smooth operation and recovery process. Here’s a COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE to help you get ready and understand postoperative precautions.

Preoperative Preparation

Physical Preparation: Engaging in preoperative physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around your hip, which aids in recovery. Exercises focusing on leg strength, flexibility, and core stability are beneficial. If you are overweight, your doctor may recommend a weight loss plan to reduce stress on the new hip joint.

Home Preparation: Prepare your home for your return post-surgery. Remove any tripping hazards, ensure frequently used items are within easy reach.

Understand the Procedure: Educate yourself about the surgery. Understanding what to expect can reduce anxiety and help you mentally prepare. Discuss the specifics of the procedure with your surgeon, including the type of anaesthetic and the expected duration of the surgery and hospital stay. Discuss with the hospital physiotherapist the expected path and exercises immediately following the surgery and up to discharge from hospital.

Many hospitals will have a patient out of bed and mobilising with assistance a few hours following the surgery when the anaesthetic has worn off. This is normal practice and promotes a better recovery.

Postoperative Precautions

Following surgery, adhering to postoperative precautions is crucial for a successful recovery and to avoid complications such as dislocation or infection.

Weight-Bearing Restrictions: Follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding weight-bearing. Initially, you may need to use crutches or a walker. Gradually, you will transition to full weight-bearing as per your doctor’s and physiotherapist’s advice.

Avoid Certain Movements:  

  • Avoid excessive hip extension. Do not let your leg move backward too far.
  • Avoid excessive hip rotation. Keep your toes pointing forward rather than turning your feet inward or outward excessively.

 Incision Care: Keep the surgical area clean and dry. Follow your surgeon’s guidelines on wound care to prevent infection. Report any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or drainage, to your doctor immediately.

Gradual Return to Activities: Physiotherapy is a crucial part of your recovery. It helps restore strength and mobility. Follow your therapist’s exercise regimen diligently but avoid overexertion. Activities like walking, swimming, and cycling are usually encouraged, while high-impact activities should be avoided initially.

Conclusion

Preparation and adherence to postoperative guidelines are key to a successful anterior total hip replacement. By taking the necessary preoperative steps and following postoperative precautions, you can enhance your recovery and enjoy a significant improvement in your quality of life.

References:

  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). (2021). Total Hip Replacement.
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Hip Replacement: What You Can Expect.
  3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). (2018). Total Hip Replacement and Resurfacing Arthroplasty for End-Stage Arthritis of the Hip.