Question:I'm going to have my first hip replacement next month. The surgeon tells me if all goes well I should be home in 12 hours. I am widowed and live alone. How will I know what to do or how to care for myself?
With the new minimally invasive operations patients are able to go home quickly after joint replacements. The incision is smaller and the blood loss is less. The time under anesthesia is much less, too. Patients are up and walking with the therapist much faster.
One way to accomplish this is through pre-operative training. That means you'll see a physical therapist before the operation. The first visit takes place about two weeks before the surgery. Then three to five days before your hip replacement, you'll see the therapist again. The therapist will teach you the exercises you'll need to know. You'll learn how to walk with crutches. In fact you'll be required to practice both the exercises and the crutch walking before the operation.
You will need someone to help take care of you for a few days after the surgery. A nurse and a therapist will visit you in your home. You'll be reminded of the dislocation precautions. Your blood levels will be checked. Your doctor will be notified if there are any problems. Most patients do very well with this approach.Kim C. Bertin, MD. Minimally Invasive Outpatient Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Financial Analysis. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. June 2005. Vol. 435. Pp. 154-163.
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