What To Expect On Hip Surgery Day
Sometimes a hip replacement is the only option for reducing pain and restoring a normal activity level. If your surgeon has recommended hip replacement surgery for you, and you have agreed to such surgery, here is an idea of what to expect on the day of your surgery.
Day of Surgery
On the morning of the surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital and taken to the appropriate pre-surgical area. You will have to sign a number of forms from the hospital, the anaesthetist, etc. The nurse will spend a few minutes preparing you for surgery by taking your vital signs (including heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and temperature), starting IV (intravenous) fluids, and administering medications as needed. You will be asked to empty your bladder just prior to surgery, and to remove all jewellery, contact lenses, dentures (false teeth), etc. You will change into a hospital gown, be placed on a stretcher, and transported to the operating room. If possible, the anaesthetist will meet you and review the medications and procedures used during the surgical case.
Almost all hip replacement implants consist of a four-part system:
- A hip stem, usually made from biocompatible metal such as titanium, which is implanted down the shaft of the thigh bone (femur);
- A femoral head which sits on top of the hip stem and replaces the "ball' portion of the hip's "ball and socket" design; and
- A two-part hemispherical or "cup like" component made up of metal shell and a plastic liner that replaces the "socket" in which the femoral head sits.
- Once implanted, the new femoral head rotates inside the plastic liner to create the ball and socket movement of the original joint.
After the surgical case is completed, you will be taken to the recovery room for a period of close observation. Your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature will be closely monitored by the recovery room staff. Special attention will be given to your circulation and sensation in the feet and legs. When you awaken, and your condition is stabilised, you will be transferred to the ward or your hospital room.
Although the protocols may vary from hospital to hospital, you may awaken to some or all of the following:
- A large dressing applied to the surgical area.
- A hemovac suction container with tubes leading directly into the surgical area. This device allows the nurses to measure and record the amount of fluids draining from the wound following surgery.
- An IV will continue post-operatively in order to provide adequate fluids. The IV may also be used for administration of antibiotics or other medications.
- A catheter may have been inserted into your bladder as the side effects of medication often make it difficult to urinate.
- An elastic stocking may be applied to decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Furthermore, a compression device may be applied to your feet to further prevent a DVT.
- A patient-controlled analgesia or PCA device may be connected to your IV. This device allows you to control the relative amount and frequency of the pain medication. The unit is set to deliver a predefined amount of pain medication anytime you press the button of the machine. The machine is programmed so that you cannot overdose on the pain medication.
You will typically be taken to a ward of the hospital with other patients who have had surgical procedures. The nursing staff is familiar with surgery patients and the care they require.
Watch a video on total hip replacement: