Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

I know I need a hip replacement and my family is bugging me to just do it. But I'm scared. I'm afraid I won't be able to handle the pain after surgery. My hip hurts now but it's a pain I'm familiar with and I know how to deal with it. How can I get over this hurdle?

Answer:

Many seniors put off having a total hip replacement despite the pain and loss of function that the arthritic joint is causing. They are afraid that it will hurt even more after the surgery and take a long time to recover. At least right now, they can walk without a walker. After surgery, the thought of using a walker or cane is enough to keep them away. Yet every year there are nearly one million adults who do have a total hip or total knee replacement. And that figure is expected to increase to four million in the next 20 years. So while some are hesitant, those who aren’t may experience an even faster recovery time thanks to the results of some recent studies. Surgeons and physical therapists are working together to find the fastest way through surgery and rehab with the least amount of pain and disability. Sound like a tall order? Surprisingly, patients seem to adapt well and the results speak for themselves. Patients in a rapid recovery program go directly home two days (sometimes three days) after surgery. Patients in a traditional treatment group are more likely to be discharged to a rehabilitation center around day 4 after surgery. If the traditionally treated patient goes home directly from the hospital, then a treatment program continues at home. In a recent study at the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio), walking distance was twice as far in half the time for the rapid recovery group. That result alone brought smiles to the patients' faces as they reported a much higher level of satisfaction compared with the traditional group. But there was another positive finding from that study. The rapid recovery group reported significantly less pain and less use of pain medication. The goal of the rapid recovery program is to cut costs while still maintaining patient safety and excellent results. Decreasing the number of days patients are in the hospital while increasing their level of independent function by the time they are discharged is possible. This type of multidisciplinary approach may be just what you need. With the support, guidance, and direction of your physician, nurses, and physical therapist, you may find your fears are put aside. John Bottros, et al. A Rapid Recovery Program After Total Hip Arthroplasty. In Current Orthopaedic Practice. July/August 2010. Vol. 21. No. 4. Pp. 381-384.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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