I've heard there are lots of restrictions on how and when I can move my hip after I have a hip replacement. I've even heard I can't sit in a car for the first month. If that's true, how do I get home?
Standard precautions following a total hip replacement usually do include avoiding bending the hip more than 90 degrees. That usually means not bending forward from the waist over the legs or lifting the leg up past 90 degrees. There is also a limit on how much hip rotation is allowed.
The concern is for safety and avoiding dislocation of the new hip implant. Studies show that hip dislocations after a hip replacement occur in two to four out of every 100 patients treated this way. To help patients avoid this unpleasant complication, movements that could stress the hip are avoided. A raised toilet seat is used for the first four to six weeks.
Riding in a car is avoided. But with pillows and proper positioning, patients are allowed that one car trip from hospital to home. You will also likely be sleeping with a wedge strapped between the legs. Again, this is to keep the legs in the right position to avoid dislocating the hip. You'll only be able to sleep on your back while the wedge is in place.
Restrictions of this type aren't always needed. With today's minimally invasive surgical techniques, some of these restrictions can be lifted. Your surgeon will give you your Dos and Don'ts based on the type of procedure done and type of implant used. Patients who follow what their surgeons tell them to do have the lowest rate of problems.
Prodromos A. Ververeli, MD, et al. Evaluation of Reducing Postoperative Hip Precautions in Total Hip Replacement: A Randomized Prospective Study. In Orthopedics. December 2009. Vol. 32. No. 12. Pp. 889-893.
*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.