Post op Hip replacement (long post)

newhipandy Member Posts: 60
edited 29. Sep 2015, 07:07 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello all
On Thursday 10 September I bid farewell to my old arthritic dodgy hip and welcomed in a shiny uncemented new joint :bouncing-ball: I hope the following summary of how it all went is helpful to others who are facing the prospect of this operation. All I can say is that it was immensely nerve wracking beforehand, as is naturally the thought of any surgery, but the procedure itself and my post op progress have fortunately been smooth for me. I have broken down the different elements for clarity.
• The procedure
I had the procedure under spinal anaesthetic with sedation, and don’t remember much at all. I do recall that just as I went to sleep, the music playing was the single “Jar of hearts” which struck me as funny at the time, being in an operating theatre! In hindsight I wish I had asked for my own playlist. The anaesthetic room is scary but efficient and all the staff there were great at putting me at ease.
• Early post op
When I woke up in recovery, I had an oxygen mask on and a drain from the wound, plus leg-vac pumps squeezing my calves, so it was all a bit bewildering at first. But again, the staff were very reassuring and I felt quite comfortably woozy. I felt a bit sick (which had been my biggest dread) and was given an anti-emetic which worked very quickly. My husband was a bit shocked when he came to see me in the evening looking like a real patient flat on my back in bed, but I was reasonably ‘with it’ and glad he came in. I had my obs checked three hourly overnight which was tiring. Bed pans are better than they used to be and that is all I will say on that particular topic!
• Mobility
The first post op morning brought along the physio and the nurse to help me out of bed, complete with drain. The oxygen was taken down first and fortunately I didn’t need it any more as my sats were normal. When I stood with the crutches for the first time, I promptly burst into tears because I could stand so well, balanced equally on both hips and feet on the ground – for months I have been holding my ‘bad’ heel off the ground. It was the most exciting moment, and even though there was still anaesthetic in the area so I had no pain, I have remained pain free within the joint, the only discomfort is coming from the wound and tissues themselves. My back which has been very stiff for months, is gradually easing too as I get back into a proper alignment.
• Analgesia
Initially I think there is a lot of pain relief in the sedation drugs and within the operation site itself. As a patient you are frequently asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to ten, and I can honestly say I never got above an eight – that was on the second post operative night which was not a great night. I found that codeine made me feel awful, yes it knocked me out, but I felt very foggy, tearful and uncomfortable with it. I gradually reduced the dosage so by the time I came home on day three I was only taking it once at night, and by day five I had stopped it. I find that spacing regular doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen (with a stomach protector in the form of a PPI) is keeping pain at bay and I assume that the anti-inflammatory effects of the ibuprofen are helping with the healing process too.
• Emotional effect
In the first couple of days, I felt quite weepy particularly when people were nice to me! There is no denying the mental stress of surgery; even when you know the outcome will be good it is still an anxious time pre-operatively, and afterwards there is anxiety about possible complications and the adjustment to feeling so different. Overall though, I have found having a spinal anaesthetic leaves far less residue in terms of mood effects than a general anaesthetic. Though I still have a degree of brain fog and my concentration level is poor.
• Physical effect
The physical benefit of the new hip already far outweighs the discomfort; it is one of those things that with the benefit of hindsight I realise how much my hip problems were impacting on me both physically and mentally. I am lucky to be progressing well and my fears of the new hip feeling alien have proved unfounded – on the contrary, I love it already :P
• Sleep
Sleep remains elusive. I thought that because I was so tired beforehand, all I would do afterwards was catch up on sleep, but that has not really been the case. Lying on my back is challenging, I so long to turn over! And I get stiff and sore, surprisingly my heels are sore, where they are touching the bed, like pressure sores. I have tried rigging up a rolled up towel or pillow strategically placed, but sleeping for more than a few hours at a time seems to be unachievable at the moment. I could, however drop off very easily for a nap most of the time.
• Wound management
The wound is covered by waterproof dressings and much as I would like to shower, the thought of a dressing change, and possible infection, means that I have decided to wait until my return to hospital for the nurses to do this for me. I find I can manage quite well to wash my hair at the sink and strip wash too. Swelling has not been too bad and it is already beginning to lessen. Bruises are colourful!
• Physiotherapy
I am diligently doing my physio exercises, these come under the heading of dull but necessary. The physiotherapist also advised that I take to bed for an hour a day, not just a doze on the sofa but actually going back to bed, and I have found that this hour after lunch feels like the most refreshing, healing sleep that I am getting.
• Aids at home
Toilet raiser, helping hand and shoe horn – are all useful aids which stop the forbidden bending beyond 90 degrees. A scarf to help bend up the leg for exercise when in bed is useful too – put the scarf under the thigh, and pull gently with the hands to raise the leg. A slide sheet is useful for getting in and out of bed.
• TEDs
The TED pressure stockings are a pain! My long suffering husband is kind enough to change them for me every day, wash and dry my legs and feet. I have no idea how people manage to do this on their own, in fact I imagine they cannot.

So there it is, the summary so far! If I have omitted anything, please do not hesitate to ask.

Best to all



  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So pleased to hear this has gone so well for you. My late Father had both hips replaced (seperate ops) in the early 80's and I remember how amazed he was that the day after the op while he was sore the awful pain he had been experiencing had gone.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Andrea..its good of you to share it really does help other that are facing the new hip is 2 and a half years old now..and like you I had the epidural and was out of it..I didnt even hear the music... :lol: the tiredness was the one thing I remember after coming home..but around the 6 weeks mark.. things were much better..hope you have a good recovery..
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sounds like the op went very well, I hope you continue to have a good recovery!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,730
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm glad it all went well. It was kind of you to post at such length as others might benefit. I hope the good news continues.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, how's things? We're ten days on from your initial post and I hope all is going as well as possible. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • newhipandy
    newhipandy Member Posts: 60
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Dreamdaisy et al

    I posted an update last week under a different heading, have copied it below. I am now just off three weeks post op and still doing well, tiredness is the main feature that creeps up on me ... I start off the day with a reasonable amount of energy but boy, am i ready for a nap after lunch, and that is without doing very much apart from the physio outings. I am walking twice a day, a short distance and have had the OK from physio for that.
    I plan to post updates roughly weekly, if nothing else it is good to chart progress. Regards to all
    Hello again all

    I thought I would just continue with the updates for a bit in the hope that they are useful to others facing total hip replacement ... today I am two weeks post op and doing well. I am down to using one crutch around the house which is great because if I make a cuppa, I can now carry it into the lounge rather than having to use a lidded vacuum cup. I am going for 2 short walks outside each day, with crutches of course ... yesterday was a scary one as my husband had gone back to work. I learned that it is not a good idea to buy a carton of milk and try to carry it in a bag ... even that small weight made me feel unbalanced.

    Sleep is still elusive at night but a bit better, post lunch nap is still much enjoyed and feels more refreshing than night time sleep. Painkillers - I am still taking paracetamol and ibuprofen regularly spaced. Physio - am diligent about doing the exercises however dull they are. The downsides remain the TEDs and the nightly injections, but apart from that I am delighted with my new reduced pain and increasing mobility - and the incision is itchy, bit lumpy but swelling is going down. WOW that first shower felt SOOOO GOOD! :splash:

    Regards to all