What to expect after surgery
After surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room for a few hours. Nurses will check your blood pressure, pulse temperature, and breathing. They will pay close attention to the circulation and sensation in your legs and feet. If you experience any numbness, tingling, or pain in your legs and feet, it is very important for you to tell the nurse.

When you first awake from surgery, you may find a foam cushion wedged between your legs. This cushion prevents you from crossing your legs, which could dislocate a relatively unstable, new hip. The wound would be covered with a large dressing. You will be given something for heel protection. Keep ice on your hip for 2 to 3 days to minimize swelling.

You should also purchase a commode, shower chair, and compression stockings before the surgery to have at home.

Pain Control
Many patients undergoing joint replacement are concerned about the pain immediately after surgery. A pain medication, such as morphine, may be administered during surgery to reduce your pain during recovery. You may be also given spinal (epidural) anesthesia for pain control. Discuss pain control options with your surgeon.

Hospital stay
You may need to stay in the hospital for 3 to 7 days after surgery. For the most part, you will be resting in bed except for brief exercise sessions. You can expect to be out of bed and put weight on your new joint within 1 to 2 days after surgery. If you need a few more days of acute rehabilitation, you may be discharged to an extended-care or rehabilitation facility.

Sports and other physical activities after hip replacement
Most surgeons advise patients to reduce their physical activities after hip replacement. Too much activity could wear out or loosen the artificial joint, leading to more surgery in the future to fix the problem.

However, some patients want to return to sports and other activities, especially when the surgery reduces their pain. Light walking and golf generally are accepted; running activities generally are not allowed. Discuss specific restrictions with your surgeon.

Click to continue: Protecting your new hip

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