In the U.S., more than 193,000 total hip replacements are now performed each year. Improved technology and more advanced surgical techniques have made hip replacement surgery available to younger people as well. And, increased numbers of hip replacements mean more and more people will be susceptible to possible complications. So how can you ensure a successful recovery from hip replacement surgery?

Be aware of the risks and complications

Like any surgery, hip replacement has its share of complications associated with it. The good news is that most are preventable and treatable. Possible problems include:

  • Dislocation: Dislocation occurs when the new joint pops out of socket. There is a small likelihood that additional surgery will be needed to correct a dislocated joint.
  • Infection: Your surgical wound makes you more vulnerable to bacteria entering your bloodstream. Common symptoms of a hip replacement infection include fever, chills, escalated pain, swelling, redness or drainage on or around your wound.
  • Blood clot: You may have a blood clot if you experience pain, redness, swelling or tenderness in your calf or leg within days or weeks of the operation. Tissue damage can result in the area of the clot if left untreated.
  • Wear/loosening: Post-surgery hip pain can result from a worn or loosened joint. A second operation may be required to correct this problem.

Listen to your doctor or surgeon

Avoiding complications like the ones listed above often rests on the patient. Following your orthopedic surgeon's home care instructions and being patient with your healing body are two of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful recovery. Your surgeon or physician should provide wound care instructions, a diet plan and an activity program to help ensure your recovery goes smoothly. Other general precautions for hip replacement surgery include avoiding:

  • Crossing your legs.
  • Sitting up in bed.
  • Turning your feet too far inward or outward.
  • Bending your hips more than 90 degrees.

Make your home safe for recovery

Because of limited coordination after surgery, you may be more susceptible to falling. Such a fall can damage the new joint and may result in additional surgery. Since most of your recovery is going to take place in your home, it's important to address any hazardous areas before you have surgery. Make sure all unfastened carpet, slick rugs, wobbly stairway handrails and loose cords are removed or repaired. Also, keeping a cane, crutch or walker handy is a good way to help maintain balance and flexibility while moving around the house.

Have confidence!

Approximately 90 percent of all joint replacements are completed successfully. Right now, hip replacement surgery is the most successful and effective option for untreatable hip pain. Talk with your primary care provider for more information on hip replacement surgery.

To find a doctor, call Riverside Community Hospital at (951) 788-3463.

For appropriate candidates, hip replacement surgery can greatly decrease pain and improve overall quality of life.