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Having a Hip Replacement

Before your surgery

While you wait for surgery, it’s important to be as healthy as possible. Eat healthy foods, drink lots of fluids, get lots of rest, and remember to exercise.

Talk to your healthcare team about your medicines

Your healthcare team will talk to you about which medicines to stop taking before your surgery.

Let your healthcare team know:

  • if you’re allergic to any medicines, latex, or metals
  • if there are any changes to you medicines, such as a dose change or if you start taking a new medicine
  • the type of pain medicine you take and how you plan to manage your pain after surgery
  • if your health changes

Look after your health problems

Before your surgery, it’s important to look after any health problems, especially those with your teeth, eyes, bladder, and prostate (if you have one).

  • Fill prescriptions for medicines you need and take them as prescribed.
  • Get your teeth cleaned and have any dental work you need, at least 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. This will help lower your risk of infection after surgery. Your surgery will be delayed if you’re having problems with your teeth at the time of surgery.

Stay active and do your exercises

Keep doing your regular activities. It’s also important to start doing your phase 1 exercises right away. These exercises will help you to build strength in your legs, arms, and stomach. Doing them before surgery will also make it easier for you get moving again after surgery.

Have help when you go home

You’ll likely be in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. Arrange for someone to pick you up when it’s time for you to go home.

Once you get home, you’ll need someone to help with:

  • housework, yard work, shopping, and meals
  • taking you to and from your appointments and other places you need to go
  • your medicines and bandages
  • your exercise program and treatment plan

If you live alone, it’s helpful to have someone stay with you until you’re able to do more things on your own.

Arrange care for others

If someone depends on you for care, arrange for someone else to give the care while you recover from surgery.

Get your home ready

Make your home as safe as possible for when you get home:

  • Plan to have all the equipment you need for your recovery at least 1 to 2 weeks before your surgery. Practice using the equipment.
  • Put items you need within easy reach.
  • Adjust your bed so the top of the mattress is above the bend at the back of your knee.
  • Move your furniture around so you have space to move safely using a walker or crutches.
  • Remove loose mats or clutter that could cause you to trip or slip.
  • Put handrails on stairways inside and outside of your home. If you can’t or don’t have handrails, arrange to have someone help you go up and down the stairs when you first get home.
  • Make sure you have the right type of chair for sitting, bathing, and doing your exercises (see the Moving around and caring for yourself section).
  • If you have a tub with a shower door, take off the door and put up a shower curtain instead.
  • Do your heavy housework (such as laundry and vacuuming) before your surgery.
  • Stock up on groceries and make frozen meals.

Stop using lotion and creams and don’t shave

Stop using all lotions and cream on your legs 5 days before surgery. Do not shave your legs within 2 weeks of surgery.

Ask questions

Be sure you understand:

  • why you’re having surgery
  • what’s going to happen during your surgery
  • the benefits and risks of having surgery
  • what you’re agreeing to when you sign the consent form for surgery

Write down any questions you have and bring them to your appointments. For other important tips, go to getting ready for your surgery.

Before surgery checklist

Visit the before surgery checklist to find out what to do the day before surgery and the morning of your surgery.

Also remember to:

  • arrange to have a support person help you before and after surgery
  • have all your dental work done
  • exercise every day to get ready for surgery
  • have all your heavy housework (like vacuuming and laundry) done
  • stock up on groceries
  • have the equipment and walking aids you need after surgery
  • put things you’ll need in easy reach
  • arrange furniture so you have the space to move around safely with your walker or crutches at home
  • have a sturdy chair with a firm seat and armrests
  • pack your “When You’re Having a Hip Replacement” booklet (if you have one)​

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