Recovery After Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery
Updated: Nov 16, 2017
The recovery process has changed dramatically in the last 5-10 years following total hip replacement surgery. Patients used to spend 3 or more days in the hospital followed by a period of time in a rehab facility before returning home. Now, with the advent of anterior total hip replacement and rapid recovery programs, most patients will only need to stay in the hospital for one night before returning home. In fact, some young, healthy patients may be able to leave the hospital on the day of surgery or have their surgery at an outpatient surgery center and go home directly after surgery. Because anterior total hip replacement is minimally invasive and muscle sparing, the recovery process tends to be quicker and the pain less than a traditional hip replacement. Patients typically state that the pain from the arthritis is gone almost immediately after surgery, and although there is some pain from the surgery itself it is usually easily controlled. Patients will get physical therapy on the day of surgery and usually continue physical therapy for the first two weeks after surgery, either at home or an outpatient physical therapy office. Physical therapy can often be discontinued after two weeks. Most patients will start walking with a walker for a week or two after surgery before progressing to a cane. Between 2-6 weeks after surgery most patients will no longer need the cane to get around. Patients can return to working from home within days of surgery. Patients with office/desk jobs can often return to work 2-4 weeks after surgery. Patients with more physically demanding jobs will may need 2-3 months to recover before going back to work. Patients can usually start to drive about two weeks after total hip or total knee replacement surgery on the left leg, and about one month after total joint replacement on the right leg. With direct anterior total hip replacement no hip precautions are necessary after surgery because the risk of dislocation is lower, so no special pillows are needed and patients can sit in normal chairs after surgery.