Dr. Thomas John On Hip Replacement Surgery & Recovery

Health U Publication by Hackensack Meridian Health Spring 2019 

“I want to get a hip replacement, but I am worried about how long it will take to recover. I have a vacation planned soon and want to make sure I can walk around town! How long does it typically take to recover, and when will I be able to travel after the surgery?” – Patricia D.

Hip replacement is major surgery, usually done because of a painful, arthritic hip joint. Most people who have had hip replacement surgery are able to return to normal light activity within three to six weeks and are pretty much back to and able to travel—in 10 to 12 weeks. Depending on the person and type of surgery, driving may be as soon as two to four weeks.

To get you up and moving, special exercises will be necessary during the recuperation period. Nurses or physical therapists will begin these as soon as the day after surgery, and you will continue them on your own when you return home. Within hours after surgery, you will be encouraged to get up and start walking with crutches or a walker. This is important to decrease the chance of blood clots forming and to get used to walking with the new hip.

Once you are home, you might need a cane for balance at first. When you feel up to it, you should try to walk five to 10 minutes three or four times a day, then extend that to 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a day as your endurance improves.

When you are fully healed, there might be some residual soreness from time to time, but nothing like the pain you experienced before the surgery.

Thomas John, M.D.

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Hackensack Meridian Health

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