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Hip Replacement Protocol

During hip replacement, a surgeon removes the damaged sections of your hip joint and replaces them with parts usually constructed of metal, ceramic and very hard plastic. This artificial joint (prosthesis) helps reduce pain and improve function.

Also called total hip arthroplasty, hip replacement surgery might be an option for you if your hip pain interferes with daily activities and nonsurgical treatments haven't helped or are no longer effective. Arthritis damage is the most common reason to need hip replacement.

Why it's done

The goal is to help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased hip joints. People who need hip replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. Some also have hip pain at rest.


Hip replacement surgery carries risks. Risks are common for any type of surgery. They include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Hip dislocation

Before surgery

You might be advised to stop taking certain medications and dietary supplements before your surgery. You'll likely be instructed not to eat anything after midnight the day of your surgery.


Prepare for your recovery

For several weeks after the procedure, you will most likely need to use crutches or a walker, so arrange for them before your surgery. Make sure you have a ride home from the hospital and help with everyday tasks, such as cooking, bathing and doing laundry. If you live alone, you may discharge from the surgery center to a rehabilitation center to help build daily living tasks.

To make your home safer and easier to navigate during recovery, consider doing the following:

  • Create a living space on one floor since climbing stairs can be difficult.
  • Install safety bars or a secure handrail in your shower or bath.
  • Secure stairway handrails.
  • Get a stable chair with a firm seat cushion and back, and a footstool to elevate your leg.
  • Arrange for a toilet-seat riser with arms if you have a low toilet.
  • Get a stable bench or chair for your shower.
  • Remove loose rugs and cords.

Signs of infection

Notify your doctor immediately if you notice:

  • Fever greater than 101.5 F
  • Shaking chills
  • Drainage from the surgical site
  • Increased tenderness and pain in the hip

What to expect post operatively

A prescription will be given to you to help manage pain after surgery. These prescriptions do expire. Please pick it up and keep it in a safe place.

SWELLING AND BRUISING IS EXPECTED. You may use ice at the site. Elevate extremity and use compression stocking.

Your dress will be removed at your two week post op appointment.

You may shower with surgical bandage on as it is waterproof.


Schedule a Post-operative follow up at 2 weeks and 6 weeks

Continue Physical Therapy exercises as directed. You may do PT at home or at an outpatient facility.

Please take Aspirin 81 mg twice a day to prevent blood clots.


You will have very specific guidelines for movement and activities following surgery. These instructions will be given to you in a separate handout. They will also be discussed with by your Physical Therapist. These guidelines are important to avoid complications with your hip replacement. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your limitations.

  • Maimonides Medical Center
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School