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Recovering from A Join Replacement Surgery- Patient Q&A
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Recovering from hip replacement

1. What to expect after a hip replacement?
Since its introduction in the 1960s, hip replacement surgery has proved to be one of the most effective types of surgery in modern medical history. Most people experience a significant reduction in pain and, to a lesser extent, improvement in their range of movement.
However, it is important to have realistic expectations about what the operation can achieve. For example, you should be able to ride a bike but it is unlikely that you would be able to play a game of rugby safely (although, as with most things, there are always exceptions to this rule).
The rehabilitation process after surgery can be a demanding time and requires commitment.
 

2. How soon will I be up and about?
The staff will help you to get up and walk about as quickly as possible after surgery. Some patients are able to get up and walk the same day as their surgery. Initially, you will feel discomfort while walking and exercising, and your legs and feet may be swollen. You may be given an injection into your abdomen to help prevent blood clots forming in your legs, and possibly a short course of antibiotics to help prevent infection.
A physiotherapist may teach you exercises to help strengthen the hip and explain what should and should not be done after the operation. They will teach you how to bend and sit to avoid damaging your new hip.


3. Looking after your new hip
With care, your new hip should last well. The following advice may help you care for your new hip:
  • avoid bending your hip more than 90° (a right angle) during any activity
  • avoid twisting your hip
  • do not swivel on the ball of your foot
  • when you turn around, take small steps
  • do not apply pressure to the wound in the early stages (so try to avoid lying on your side)
  • do not cross your legs over each other
  • do not force the hip or do anything that makes your hip feel uncomfortable
  • avoid low chairs and toilet seats (raised toilet seats are available)

4. When can I go home?
You will usually be in hospital for around three to five days.

5. How will I feel when I get home?
Do not be surprised if you feel very tired at first. You have had a major operation and muscles and tissues surrounding your new hip will take time to heal.You may want to arrange to have someone to help you for a week or so.

6. How soon will the pain go away?
The pain that you may have experienced before the operation should go immediately, although you can expect to feel some pain as a result of the operation itself, but this will not last for long.

7. Is there anything I should look out for or worry about?
After hip replacement surgery, contact your GP if you notice redness, fluid or an increase in pain in the new joint.

8. Will I have to go back to hospital?
You will be given an appointment to check up on your progress, usually 6-12 weeks after your hip replacement. The surgeon will want to see you a year later to check that everything is OK, and every five years after that to X-ray your hip and make sure it is not beginning to loosen.

9. How long will it be before I feel back to normal?
Generally, you should be able to stop using your crutches within four to six weeks and feel more or less normal after three months, by which time you should be able to perform all your normal activities.
It is best to avoid extreme movements or sports where there is a risk of falling, such as skiing or riding. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you about this.


10. When can I drive again?
You can usually drive a car after about six weeks, subject to advice from your surgeon. It can be tricky getting in and out of your car at first. It is best to ease yourself in backwards and swing both legs round together.

11. When can I go back to work?
This depends on your job, but you can usually return to work 6-12 weeks after your operation.

12. Will I need another new hip?
Nowadays, most hip implants last for 15 years or more. If you are older, your new hip may last your lifetime. If you are younger, you may need another new hip at some point.
Revision surgery is more complicated and time-consuming for the surgeon to perform than a first hip replacement and complication rates are usually higher. It cannot be performed in every patient. However, it is much more successful than it used to be and most people who can have it report success for 10 years or more.
 
 

Recovering from a knee replacement

Recovery times can vary depending on the individual and type of surgery carried out. It is important to follow advice the hospital gives you on looking after your knee.

1. How soon will I be up and about?
The staff will help you to get up and walk about as quickly as possible. Generally, you will be helped to stand within 12-24 hours after your operation.
Walking with a frame or crutches is encouraged. Most people are able to walk independently with sticks after about a week but this can vary depending on the individual.
During your stay in hospital, a physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee. You can usually begin these the day after your operation. It is important to follow the physiotherapist's advice to avoid complications or dislocation of your new joint.
It is normal to experience initial discomfort while walking and exercising, and your legs and feet may be swollen.
You may be put on a passive motion machine to restore movement in your knee and leg. This support will slowly move your knee while you are in bed. It helps to decrease swelling by keeping your leg raised and helps improve your circulation.


2. When can I go home?
You will usually be in hospital for three to five days, depending on what progress you make and what type of knee replacement you have. Patients who have a half knee replacement usually have a shorter hospital stay.

3. How will I feel when I get home?
Do not be surprised if you feel extremely tired at first. You have had a major operation and muscles and tissues surrounding your new knee will take time to heal. Follow the advice of the surgical team if you have any particular worries or queries.
The exercises your physiotherapist gives you are an important part of your recovery. It is essential you continue with them once you are at home. Your rehabilitation will be monitored by a physiotherapist.


4. How long will it be before I feel normal?
You should be able to stop using your crutches or walking frame and resume normal leisure activities six weeks after surgery. However, it may take up to three months for pain and swelling to settle down. It can take up to a year for any leg swelling to disappear.
Your new knee will continue to recover up to two years after your operation. During this time, scar tissue will heal and muscles will be restored by exercise.
Even after you have recovered, it is best to avoid extreme movements or sports where there is a risk of falling, such as skiing or mountain biking. Your doctor or a physiotherapist can advise you.


5. When can I drive again?
You can resume driving when you can bend your knee enough to get in and out of a car and control the car properly.
This is usually around four to six weeks after your surgery, but check with your physiotherapist or doctor whether it is safe for you to drive.


6. When can I go back to work?
This depends on your job, but you can usually return to work six to 12 weeks after your operation.

7. When can I do housework?
For the first three months, you should be able to manage light chores, such as dusting and washing up.
Avoid heavy household tasks such as vacuuming and changing the beds. Do not stand for long periods as this may cause ankle swelling and avoid stretching up or bending down for the first six weeks.


8. Will I have to go back to the hospital?
You will be given an outpatient appointment to check on your progress, usually six to 12 weeks after your knee replacement.

9. Will I need another new knee?
The knee can be replaced as often as necessary, although results tend to be slightly less effective each time. Recovery may take longer, but once you have recovered, results are usually good.

10. Looking after your new knee
  • Continue to take any prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatories to help manage any pain and swelling
  • Use your walking aids but aim to gradually decrease the amount you rely on them as your leg feels stronger
  • Keep up your exercises to help prevent stiffness and do not force your knee
  • Do not sit with your legs crossed for six weeks after your operation
  • Do not put a pillow underneath your knee when sleeping as this can result in a permanently bent knee
  • Avoid twisting at your knee
  • Wear supportive outdoor shoes
  • Do not kneel on your operated knee until your surgeon says you can
  • Raise your leg when sitting and use ice packs to help with any swelling 
 
Source: http://www.nhs.uk/