You’ve made the decision to have a hip replacement surgery and are looking forward to an increased quality of life with less pain and more mobility. Congratulations! If you want to receive the best care and the best outcome possible, it’s crucial for you to remain engaged with the entire process, particularly your recovery.
The recovery process is an integral part of any surgery, and it actually begins before the operation. There are several things you can do to prepare for your surgery to help ensure a smooth rehabilitation process and the best results. This is called pre-habilitation! Pre-hab is not just about exercise – though that’s important, too! It also includes your mental and practical preparation. Let’s take a look:
Having a support system is important for your emotional and mental health. Family and friends can help keep you motivated and accountable to your goals (I’m looking at you, daily exercises!). They are also needed for practical reasons, such as attending appointments with you, taking you home from the hospital, and doing groceries or making meals during your recovery.
Think of your own self as a supporter too. Surgery can be daunting: mentally prepare yourself by understanding the process, the medications you will be taking, and practicing mindfulness and positivity.
Exercise and mind your health
Your doctor can recommend exercises to do in the weeks leading up to surgery. You’ll thank yourself for strengthening the muscles surrounding your hip, as it will help you recuperate faster! Low impact activities such as stretching, walking, swimming, and cycling are also good for improving flexibility and range of motion, as well as decreasing your chances of developing blood clots post-op.
If you take any blood thinners you may be asked to stop a few weeks before surgery. You should also avoid smoking and may be counseled to lose some weight, to decrease the chance of complications.
In the weeks leading up to surgery prepare your home by tidying up, arranging commonly used items at waist level for easy access, and installing desired mobility aids such as railings or raised seats. Arranging your own “recovery suite” on the ground floor might be necessary to avoid stairs. Stock up on staple foods and prepare some meals. Advise your work or other obligations that you are undergoing surgery and will require time off for recovery.
The week before your operation you should pack an overnight bag. Make sure you have important documents, loose-fitting clothes, toiletries, and some entertainment material.
Setting yourself up for your hip replacement surgery will greatly help you in your rehabilitation. Exercise, home prep, and lining up a ride home, among all the other things we mentioned, are key to your recovery. Good luck!
*This article is not exhaustive and is not an official medical instruction document. Always speak to your doctor about how to best prepare for surgery.
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