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Hip replacement surgery: The timeline is extensive

Hip replacement surgery is often the best treatment for a variety of conditions related to hip joint, ligament or socket problems. For example, if you seriously injure your hip at work, such as in a fall from height, your surgeon may suggest a replacement.

While no two people are the same, there's a basic hip replacement surgery timeline that can give you an idea of what to expect.

Day of your surgery

On the day of your surgery, here's what you can expect:

  • You'll arrive at the hospital several hours before your scheduled surgery time
  • Prepare to remain in the hospital for three to four days
  • A hip replacement surgery typically lasts two to three hours
  • The first day following the surgery you're likely to be on a liquid diet
  • Your medical team can provide medication for pain and to prevent infection

One to two days post-surgery

Don't expect to do much resting during the first couple days after surgery. Your medical team will get you out of bed to help you start moving with crutches or a walker.

This is also when you'll do the following:

  • Meet with occupational and physical therapists to discuss a recovery plan
  • Begin to eat a normal diet again
  • Move from IV pain medication to oral pain medication

Three days after surgery

If you're feeling up to it, your doctor will discuss discharge procedures. In the event of complications during recovery, you may have to spend additional time in the hospital.

After three days, the pain will subside and you'll find that you're able to walk short distances on your own.

Four to 10 days post-surgery

  • Continue to follow your doctor's care and recovery instructions
  • Report any signs of trouble, such as an infection, to your medical team
  • Continue with your physical therapy regimen
  • Try to take less pain medication
  • Continue to move around to maintain blood flow and prevent clots

Three to six weeks post-surgery

During this time, you may be able to partake in light activities once again. This is also when you're likely to get rid of your crutches or walker.

With your doctor's blessings, you may also receive permission to drive again.

10 to 12 weeks post-surgery

Depending on how you're progressing, you may be able to resume normal activities, such as returning to your job.

Keep in mind that you don't want to push yourself too soon, as doing so increases the risk of additional injury.

Depending on the circumstances of your injury and treatment, you may be able to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. In the event of a permanent work-related disability, it also makes sense to learn more about Social Security benefits.

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