Reply
Highlighted
Contributor
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎03-17-2010

Hip Replacement Surgery

Has anyone had hip replacement surgery using the anterior approoach? Was wondering about recovery time, restrictions etc.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 975
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

I had a THR and my scar is to the back of my outer thigh.

The recovery time depends also on the type of prothesis used and damage done (pre-op) to the joint. Mine was extensive. ALL THRs have the same restrictions for the same amount of time to prevent dislocation and to allow the body to heal (swelling to reside and mending to begin). There are movement restrictions for a few months, exercises to do, and dietary restrictions if you are on blood thinners (to prevent DVTs/blood clots). Getting used to the new added joint weight takes a bit. Sleeping is aided by an extra pillow between the legs and not on the operated side.

Your ortho surgeon and the hospital and rehab facility you use should be able to give you instructions, even classes before the surgery.

Super Contributor
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

My mother had both hips replaced. I don't recall the approach but the incision was on the side and healed well.

Her surgeries went well and she had no complications and was greatly relieved to be rid of the pain she'd endured. She was able to return to her normal activities and more after everything was healed.

She was an excellent patient and had a very well-renowned dr. The surgery was performed at one of the most highly regarded medical facilities in the area. She had been well-prepared for the surgery which is key as after the surgery, it is very important to follow all the instructions to the letter.

It is also very important that you trust your doctor and get all your questions answered in advance. I've heard of some people having complications such as one leg ending up longer than the other when there wasn't a discrepancy pre-op.

I'd be more concerned about the material the joint was made from and the doctor's expertise than I would the incision. If you have a good doctor, this is something you surely could discuss with him.

Take someone with you like a trusted relative or friend and have them take notes of what the doctor says as it is very stressful to go through something like this and you don't want any misunderstandings. Ask about other "approaches" and the pros and cons of each or Google search and you can probably find lots of information which would be good for you to have ahead of seeing the doctor so you can compare his opinion with what you've learned and you may think of even more questions.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,197
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

Haven't had the surgery but one of my good friends is an Ortho Doctor that specializes in replacements of: shoulders/hips and knees.

Don't know anything about how they are done but do know a bit about what he has told me about recovery. My mother-in-law broke her hip in December and she is 88 years old. Didn't have to replace it, but it took her quite a while before she could walk without using a walker.

Now my mother-in-law is not one that was into any type of exercise, but she did work 2-3 days every weekend. She isn't the kind that puts everything into a recovery from any type of injury. I found that out when she pulled a thigh bicep muscle. I've had that so many times and I showed her the best way to recover from it. She said it "hurt too much" to do the exercises, and I said "hey it's up to you".

Anyway, my doctor friend told me recovery depends on how healthy and fit the patient is at the time of the surgery. Someone that has taken care of their muscles and connective tissues most of their lives usually recover much quicker than someone like my mother-in-law. He said some of his patients take over a year while others are almost back to 95% in 3-4 months.

Had 2 of my hockey players that have had hips replaced over the years that came back to play hockey once again. They both missed a full season and the remainder of the season they had been playing when they needed the surgery. One of them was back playing the next season and the other 2 seasons later. One of them is still playing and it is hard to tell much difference in the way he plays and his skill level. This guy was one that was very fit and always made sure he had strong muscles around all of his joints and flexible connective tissues.

My hockey doctor did his surgery and he was up to 90% recovered in about 15 weeks. That is one of the better patient results according to my surgeon friend.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,074
Registered: ‎12-02-2013

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

Classique's recommendation is excellent: take someone with you who is a good listener and can ask follow up questions. The patient doesn't always hear what is and isn't being said because so much is going on in their mind. My uncle was a lawyer and he always had me or my cousin go in with him whenever my aunt's doctor needed to talk to him. He was so stressed about her that he couldn't recall most of what the Doctor said. Might be a good idea to have ?'s written down too.
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
Sir Winston Churchill
Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,197
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

On 7/4/2014 jlkz said: Classique's recommendation is excellent: take someone with you who is a good listener and can ask follow up questions. The patient doesn't always hear what is and isn't being said because so much is going on in their mind. My uncle was a lawyer and he always had me or my cousin go in with him whenever my aunt's doctor needed to talk to him. He was so stressed about her that he couldn't recall most of what the Doctor said. Might be a good idea to have ?'s written down too.

I have taken a "digital audio recorder" for years now and I've had many different doctors and illnesses. Not that I don't understand what they are saying, but my memory leaves a lot to be desired.

Legal? Beats me, but if they object they are no longer my doctor. I put the recorder right where the doctor can see it and also tell him I am recording what is said. Haven't had to change doctors yet. Will say it helps to have doctors that some are also my personal friend.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

OLLIE - I had the anterior approach replacement about 4 years ago. I have to admit I was scared to death at the thought but this was the easiest surgery I could have hoped for. I was told the anterior is the easiest/fastest to recover from. Went in Mon. w/surgery first thing, discharged Thur. Mon-Thur. did some "lite" exercises and walked w/walker about 30-40 ft. down hallway to exercise room. Could have gone to extended rehab for 2 weeks but I felt so good I opted to go home. I live alone but DD was with me until Sun.

Although I was able to stay on one floor I was permitted to climb a full set of stairs coming into the house, basement to main floor, since there's a banister for support. Also had 3 days/wk (total 0f 6 visits) w/home health nurse and 6 sessions of physical therapy at home. PT told me she saw no reason to recommend further rehab since I was doing so well.Moved from a walker to cane by the end of the second week and within 3 weeks I drove myself to the doctor and was only using a cane occasionally.

I had pain and swelling for the first week and a half and was on pain killers. By the end of the second week I was off all medication and was allowed to drive. Did have someone with me the first time I tried to drive - driving seemed somewhat strange at first. For me, in retrospect, I think much of it was psychological since I also feared going down the stairs - like my leg wouldn't properly support me. My joint replacement is ceramic not metal.

Within a month I had returned to a part time job and was walking without a limp. Was doing all housework and cutting grass with a riding mower at the one month timeframe. For me it was mind over matter. I just decided I was too young to allow this surgery to get me down. If a replacement in in your future, this is the way to go. Good Luck.

Edited to include: I am not especially fit and I was 69 yrs. old if that tells you anything. My incision is on the front of the thigh, slightly toward the hip and is about three inched long. No stitches, glued. Can't recall how long I had to keep it dry but was able to shower with a plastic covering over it when I went home. Made DD "stand by" the first time until I was confident I wouldn't fall. Then was able to do it alone. Did have to have shower grab bar installed and needed a shower stool. They have wonderful adaptive implements ( device to help put on compression hose, and a grab tool to reach things from floor or cupboard). Before I had surgery, I prepared some food and froze it so I didn't need to cook, only heat.

Super Contributor
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎09-07-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

I have been thinking not only about my mom but also some of her friends who had hip replacements. My mother's first one was done in 1974 and the second one was sometime in the 1980's.

When she had the first one, she was in the hospital about 10 days IIRC or it could have been 14! She came home directly and had physical therapy at home and was on crutches. She was 63 years old at that time and not overweight or if so, it wasn't much.

I remember she had to use "blow bottles" to keep from getting pneumonia and to exercise her lungs and had to wear surgical stockings to prevent blood clots. My sister and I were still living with her at home so I was able to come home at noon and prepare her lunch and of course we were there in the evening to fix dinner.

These are the practical things you need to think about and plan ahead for. It is much harder for someone to go through this if they live alone or have complicating health problems. Most hospitals have medical social workers who can help with referrals to services such as Meals On Wheels or whatever you might have available to you in your area.

I know a good friend of hers had a replacement that failed and the problem, as I remember, had to do with the cement or glue they used rather than the type of artificial joint. The lady had a lot of pain and had to have a repeat surgery.

I don't know anyone who has had one recently except a good friend who had one as a result of a broken hip and ended up with one leg longer than the other.

My mother's replacements lasted her entire life; she passed away at age 94. She was naturally apprehensive about the surgery but was very glad she had them as they really enhanced her quality of life and she was in a lot of pain and limping due to osteoarthritis.

Good luck to you and I'm sure you will do well. Take your time and ask all the questions you can think of ahead of time.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 580
Registered: ‎03-14-2010

Re: Hip Replacement Surgery

On 7/4/2014 Classique said:

I have been thinking not only about my mom but also some of her friends who had hip replacements. My mother's first one was done in 1974 and the second one was sometime in the 1980's.

When she had the first one, she was in the hospital about 10 days IIRC or it could have been 14! She came home directly and had physical therapy at home and was on crutches. She was 63 years old at that time and not overweight or if so, it wasn't much.

I remember she had to use "blow bottles" to keep from getting pneumonia and to exercise her lungs and had to wear surgical stockings to prevent blood clots. My sister and I were still living with her at home so I was able to come home at noon and prepare her lunch and of course we were there in the evening to fix dinner.

These are the practical things you need to think about and plan ahead for. It is much harder for someone to go through this if they live alone or have complicating health problems. Most hospitals have medical social workers who can help with referrals to services such as Meals On Wheels or whatever you might have available to you in your area.

I know a good friend of hers had a replacement that failed and the problem, as I remember, had to do with the cement or glue they used rather than the type of artificial joint. The lady had a lot of pain and had to have a repeat surgery.

I don't know anyone who has had one recently except a good friend who had one as a result of a broken hip and ended up with one leg longer than the other.

My mother's replacements lasted her entire life; she passed away at age 94. She was naturally apprehensive about the surgery but was very glad she had them as they really enhanced her quality of life and she was in a lot of pain and limping due to osteoarthritis.

Good luck to you and I'm sure you will do well. Take your time and ask all the questions you can think of ahead of time.

My Dad had his hip replacement surgery in 1967. I was 10 years old and in 5th grade at the time. We live in San Diego and his orthopedic surgeon was in San Francisco. He had the surgery in San Francisco and spent 35 days in the hospital -- in traction the entire time! Hip replacement surgery has come a long way since then!!!