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Outpatient Hip Replacement Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Fit senior man doing side planking.

Advancements in medical technology, technique and pain management have made it possible for some patients to have a total hip replacement on an outpatient basis. This can offer many benefits to people who qualify for this procedure.

What is outpatient hip replacement surgery?

Outpatient hip replacement surgery, also called “rapid-recovery hip replacement,” “ambulatory hip replacement” or “same-day hip replacement,” is a hip joint arthroplasty procedure that enables faster recovery for qualified candidates who return home on the same day of the procedure.

What are the benefits of same-day hip replacement?

The benefits of this surgery include:

  • lower risk of infection
  • quicker return to normal activities
  • a more comfortable recovery at home

Who is a candidate for outpatient hip replacement?

Patients who are in good general health, do not smoke, are motivated and have a good support team at home are the best candidates.

If you can answer "yes" to all of the below questions, you may be able to have outpatient hip replacement surgery.

  • Are you between the ages of 18 to 70?
  • Will you have support at home from a family member or friend after your discharge?
  • Are you generally healthy, with no significant medical conditions (for example, sleep apnea, history of heart attack, use of a pacemaker, etc.)?

HSS joint replacement specialists perform a thorough evaluation of each patient’s individual circumstance in order to determine their eligibility for same-day hip replacement surgery. All patients who express interest in the ambulatory joint replacement surgery program are evaluated by both the orthopedic surgeon and our multidisciplinary team. Consult one of our hip replacement surgeons to find out if you are an appropriate candidate.

What kind of incision will I have?

The incision will be on the side of your hip and is usually six to eight inches long.

How much pain will I have after surgery?

This varies among patients, however, the advances in pain management have allowed our total hip patients sufficient pain relief to undergo this procedure on an outpatient basis. On average, the pain being reported is generally no more than four out of a 10-point scale. You will have one of us by your side when you wake up and throughout the day until you leave the facility. We can address any pain that you may have promptly and efficiently.

What should I do when I get home?

We ask that you rest. Even though our patients typically feel good, it has still been a long day. On the day of your surgery you will learn how to safely transfer in and out of both the bed and the car, as well as on and off the toilet. We ask that you use the bathroom as needed, eat dinner and rest. You will have nursing and therapy services the very next day. Wait for further instruction from them.

What medications do I take at home?

You will be given a list of medications to take and when to take them.

When can I take a shower after outpatient hip replacement?

You can take a shower the day after your surgery. Please wait until the visiting nurse and physical therapist arrives. The nurse will check your dressing and your overall health that morning, and the therapist will educate you on how to safely get in and out of the shower.

Your outer padded dressing and tape can be removed. Underneath you will find a clear tape that is glued to your skin. Do not remove this. You may shower with this and get it wet. Please do not scrub the surgical area. Pat dry with a clean towel when you are finished. We also ask that you do not let your surgical site get “soaked” with water. Do not take a bath or get into a pool or hot tub.

How soon can I drive after same-day hip replacement?

On average, you will likely be able to begin driving between two to four weeks after the date of your surgery. You will discuss this with your surgeon.

Can I walk up and down my stairs?

You will be instructed on how to go up and down stairs at the surgery center before you leave that day. Most patients have no problems with stairs. We do ask that you keep it to a minimum until the home therapist arrives to further instruct you.

How long should I wear the compression stockings?

You will be asked to continue wearing the stockings on both legs while out of bed for the first two weeks after surgery. The stockings help control the swelling in your legs while you are up and walking around.

What can I do wrong?

Your hip precautions are of utmost importance. You will be educated on which hip and leg motions to avoid by your surgeon, your nurse and your physical therapist. Even if you feel comfortable, you still need to adhere to the precautions until otherwise instructed.

These precautions include avoiding the following:

  • Crossing your legs (use the abduction pillow dispensed to you for sleeping).
  • Bending your hip beyond 90 degrees. This typically occurs if you sit in a chair too low, or if you bring your hip to your chest to put your socks on.
  • Turning your foot inward. This rotates the hip in an unfavorable direction.
  • “Twisting” on your operative leg when standing or walking.
  • Bending or leaning forward when you attempt to stand, rather keep your trunk leaning back.

What should I do if I fall?

If you fall and you cannot get up, call 911 immediately. If you feel you can safely get up without going beyond your hip precautions you can try. Once you are up, if you have pain with weight bearing on the operative leg, you should call your surgeon or 911.

How long will I have home services?

It is usually for two weeks after your surgery, partially depending on your insurance benefits. You then will have a follow-up office visit with your surgeon. At this visit you will be instructed on what to do next regarding therapy.

When will I follow up with my hip surgeon?

Your postoperative appointment will be scheduled for approximately two weeks after surgery.


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