With a spinal anaesthetic, good pain relief lasts for about 6 hours after your operation.
Nurses will offer additional pain relief including co-proxamol, paracetamol, and tramadol. If they don't work, my anaesthetist or I will be close at hand to offer expert advice and help.
It is best to take the painkillers on a regular basis to prevent pain rather than relieving pain. These powerful painkillers can also cause nausea. Thankfully, usually by the third day, the pain settles.
As soon as the operation is over, the implants are solidly fixed and ready to bear all of your body weight. Be confident and bold. Have no fears: the new hip replacement will not let you down.
Patients start sitting in a chair the day after the operation and the physiotherapists will start helping you to the toilet. On the 2nd and 3rd days, you will start making a few steps in the room. At first, a frame will be used. It is important to get up and start walking as soon as possible. This will help your blood circulation and prevent blood clots.
As each day passes, confidence should grow and you will find that your walking distance increases. On the 4th or 5th day, the physiotherapist takes you up the stairs. Once this milestone has been reached, plans can be made for your discharge. Do's and don'ts following your surgery can be found here (link missing).
When you are discharged from the hospital, a letter is sent to your G.P., saying that you have been discharged. Before leaving hospital you will be given the necessary medication to cover you for about ten days. This includes a blood-thinning drug Pradaxa taken for 28 days. Wear the compression stockings for 6 weeks: this will also help prevent blood clot formation.
Patients will usually be seen in my clinic about 10 days to 2 weeks following the surgery. If all is well, the final review will be at 6 weeks.
Outpatient physiotherapy treatment is tailored to the patient's needs and speed of recovery. Usually, about 6-7 physiotherapy sessions will be arranged over an 8-week period. It is important to walk on a regular basis and build up the strength in your thigh and hip muscles. Strength in the hip muscles slowly returns over a period of 2-3 months.
Hip replacement surgery will often weaken the muscles of the hip joint resulting in a waddling gait. To correct this, exercises can be beneficial and these are illustrated below. It is best to do these exercises on a regular basis for 6-8 weeks. Building up the strength in your muscles will also give your hip replacement more stability and reduce the risk of dislocation.