Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Close

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities
Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

CHECK OUT OUR
NEW IPAD APP!

ATM Mobile App for iPhone and Ipad

Enjoy the best of AARP’s award-winning publications

on the go with the new

AARP ePubs iPad App

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Commented

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

5 Tips for a Successful Hip Replacement Surgery

For starters, choose an experienced surgeon and finish with commitment to physical therapy

3. Go for "pre-hab"

Rita Redding, a 58-year-old nurse who had hip replacement surgery last year after developing avascular necrosis — a malady of insufficient blood supply to a joint — regrets that she didn’t do more to prepare for her surgery. If she could do it over, she says, she would have started seeing a physical therapist several weeks before the procedure for advice on exercises to strengthen the muscles in her hips and legs.

Another good reason for “pre-hab”: A physical therapist who understands your functional ability before surgery is better able to help you recuperate after surgery, says James Dunleavy, administrative director of rehabilitation services at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, N.J.

4. Lose weight (if you're heavy)

A hip prosthesis is designed to handle normal body weight, says Mark Petty, M.D., of the Orthopedic Institute in Gainesville, Fla. Small wonder that he worries when someone overweight walks into his office. A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or less is ideal. (For a woman who is 5 feet 4, that’s 145 pounds or less.) If it gets high into the 30s, many orthopedists will make weight loss a condition for the replacement.

And a BMI over 40? “No way,” says Petty, adding that if a patient is too heavy he’ll encourage them to lose weight before surgery.

5. Commit to physical therapy

Total hip replacement is usually followed by two to three days in the hospital, two to three weeks in a sub-acute rehabilitation center (which is usually covered by insurance) and two to three months of outpatient care.

Dunleavy puts his patients into one of two categories during the outpatient phase: hearty and passive. The hearty ones need only two, maybe three, visits to the physical therapist each week because at home they religiously follow the prescribed exercise regimen, which typically consists of 15- to 20-minute sessions, three times a day. The so-called passive do little or nothing at home, so they need to see the physical therapist nearly every day.

Some studies have found that patients continue to benefit from physical therapy that focused on improving walking skills after the initial three months of therapy. It’s a time to be fully engaged, says Dunleavy.

Redding was back to work three months after her operation. She says she now walks without a limp, and is almost pain free. “My function has been completely restored,” she says.

Washington was back on the putting green at two months and playing 18 holes four months after his surgery. “I did everything I was told to do and then some, including losing weight before and after the operation,” 30 pounds total, he says. “I wanted a shot at what I used to be before the pain, and I got it.”

Also of interest: Getting back in the game after surgery.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Related Video

Want to improve your balance and overall fitness? You may want to try some of these one-legged balance exercises. Watch

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Health Blog

Discounts & Benefits

bring health To Life-Visual MD

AARP bookstore

AARP Bookstore - woman reaches for book on bookshelf

VISIT THE HEALTH SECTION

Find titles on brain health, drug alternatives, nutrition and losing weight. Do