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Preparing for Your Hip Replacement

You want to have top professionals, the best in their field, looking at your joints. Hip replacement is a common option for helping deal with hip problems when lifestyle changes reduce the quality of your life and other care treatments fail. Be reminded that there’s a very involved process of preparation and rehab to ensure the procedure is optimized. Here’s a look at the involved prep work that goes into getting a hip replacement done.

Medical Prep

As a start, your hip specialist in Green Bay, Appleton or Oshkosh will begin by giving you a list of pre-appointments that you need to make. These are a variety of procedures and meetings that you need to do prior to your actual hip replacement. For example, when visiting your orthopedist or hip specialist, you’ll need to take the time to set up a surgery date with the practice assistance, as well as meet with the surgeon themselves to talk about the risk of surgery. In some cases, your surgeon may ask you to make an additional appointment with your primary care doctor and any other specialists you may be seeing. The main goal here is to ensure you get preoperative medical clearance for the procedure.

Once you get past this initial set of appointments, many practices or surgeons will require you to take a preoperative education class. This helps explain to you a little about the procedures and what you need to do to facilitate proper recovery. It’s a good idea in these cases to bring family members or other people who will be serving as your caregiver to the class, along with any questions they have. Don’t be afraid to make the most of the opportunity.

This also is a good time for you to look into outpatient physical therapy. Many people who get hip or other joint replacements consider physical therapy to be an essential part of their recovery, as they work toward their original mobility and range of motion. However, the drawback with this is that most physical therapists are often booked weeks in advance. As a result, you don’t want to wait—do your research and find a place that you like and make sure they check your insurance.

If you’re taking medications, supplements, or even over-the-counter drugs on a regular basis, you’ll likely need to adjust this prior to your surgery. For example, seven days before the surgery, you want to make sure that you stop taking all types of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These include common brand names like Aleve, Advil, and types of aspirin. The reason for this is that NSAIDs interfere with blood clotting, which could lead to increased blood loss during surgery.

On the topic of blood clotting, if you take blood thinners, you want to talk to both your surgeon as well as your prescribing doctor to decide when you should stop. The seven-day mark also marks the point where you should stop taking most supplements, like ginseng, vitamin E, and fish oil. Your surgeon will decide other supplements on a case-to-case basis, so be sure to tell them everything that you take.

One thing that a lot of people don’t think of prior to a surgery like hip replacement is dental evaluation, but the fact is that if you have any major dental problems, you need to attend to them before the surgery is done. The reason for this is that some dental procedures allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing infections that can reach your new joint. Make sure you see your dentist well before the surgery, and if you find out you need dental work within 2 weeks of the surgery, bring it up right away.

Home Prep

Planning for your return home after a joint replacement will enable you to be as comfortable as possible during your recovery. As a start, one of the most important things you need to do is making sure you have help to care for yourself when you first get home. Ideally, you want a family member or friend around for 24 hours for that first week, so choose someone who has the time and availability to make that happen. If this isn’t feasible, you may want to talk to a discharge planning nurse to learn what options are available. You’ll also need someone to take you home on the day of your discharge, as well as for follow-up visits.

You’ll also need the help of others for things like checking up on you and helping with certain household tasks during your recovery. Outside of this, there are a few pieces of equipment you can buy to make things easier during this time. For example, a raised toilet seat, shower chair, and reacher tool can help you from putting unneeded stress on your joints for everyday activity. You also want to minimize the chance of accidents at home. This is best accomplished by removing things like throw rugs, installing handrails wherever you can, clearing out clutter, and putting important items in easily accessible areas. Fall hazards can quickly derail a recovery process that would otherwise be going well, so it pays to be careful.

In the last few days before surgery, be sure you take the time to shower and bathe with a special antibacterial soap that’s generally provided by your doctor. You also want to make sure you pack essential items you need to bring to the hospital, like dental care items and toiletries, comfortable, loose clothes, your ID, and a cellphone.

Take Action

Request a consultation with one of the hip specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute. Call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online. OSI offers anteriorposterior, and robotic surgical options for the treatment of hip pain. Do your homework, talk to friends and family members, neighbors and colleagues, and – most importantly – an orthopedic specialist to identify the right course of treatment for you.

OSI has convenient locations: the campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries. OSI has outreach clinics in Green Bay, New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location at 600 N. Koeller Street in Oshkosh.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.