Wanted - Hip replacement stories

The arthritis in my right hip is getting worse and I’m scheduled to see a surgeon next Monday for a consult. The recent radiographs show the damage, but little inflammation. I’ve been taking anti inflammatory drugs for a while so I’m not too surprised about that.

I’m interested in hearing from folks who have had somewhat recent replacements done. I understand that most of the work today is done from the front rather than the rear. I guess less muscle cut and quicker recovery is the reason.

So if I need a new hip joint tell me what to expect. How long before I can walk and ride in a car? How soon can I drive? When can I shower?


My maternal grandmother was one of the first people to have it done when the procedure was no longer deemed experimental. This was in 1974, and we all believe that it lengthened her life by 15 years (she died in 1990 at the age of 91).

In the late 1990s, my paternal grandmother, who was in her early 80s, kept putting off having it done because she thought she was too old for an operation like that. :rolleyes: She finally agreed to do it, and her only regret was that she didn’t do it earlier. She, too died at the age of 91. :cool:

I have no personal experience with this, but I do know that people who have this done almost always recovery quickly without complictions, and have never heard of anyone regretting the procedure.

p.s. They will get you out of bed that evening, and up walking the next day.

My wife had both knees done at once and was walking the second day. She would have been up the next day but was slow throwing off the anesthesia.

So if course that means I can’t complain about anything done to me.

My wife probably needs a hip replacement, but she utterly refuses to consider it because she’s terrified that it will wear out and she’ll need another one before she dies.

How common this may be, I do not know, but it bothers the hell out of me to watch her limping around…

I believe hip replacements are less difficult to recover from than knee replacements and generally require only a month or so for recovery as opposed to two to three months for knee replacements. I recently had both of my knees replaced due to severe arthritis in both and have had very little trouble due to pain thanks to the surgeon prescribing enough in the way of pain pills to get me through the early stages. Recovery went well and I was able to drive after a week and a half or so, and able to climb two or three flights of stairs after nine weeks or so. I had the second one done three and a half months after the first one and am recovering from it now.

All of this is by way of saying that they’ve got these operations down pat now and recovery isn’t all that painful or that big of a deal, so even if worse comes to worst and she has to have it (or them) redone ten or fifteen years from now it isn’t that big of a deal and well worth the ten or fifteen years of relief she’ll experience by having the operation(s) done now.

Additionally, she’s likely to develop more pronounced hip pain as time goes by due to her limping, and that may well force her into getting operated on sooner than she’s hoping for right now anyway. IMO she’d be better off to be operated on soon and back to good and painless health and let the future take care of itself.

HMMV, of course.

Tell her to worry about it if and when the time comes.

My mom had 3 hip replacements due to arthritis.

The first was done in 1968. There were only 3 doctors licensed to do a Charnley Total Hip Replacement in the USA at that time so she went to NYC for it and she was in the hospital for about 6 weeks. They told her it would last 15 years. About 5 years later, she had her other hip done by the same doctor, although by then there were local doctors doing the procedure. She was only there for 3-4 weeks. In 1990, the first prosthetic broke and both the prosthetic and the cup had to be replace. That was a week long hospital stay and was done locally.

I’ve lost track of how many hip replacements my mom’s sister has had. Her pelvis is bad, it’s not the implants. So, what’s going on nowadays?

You’ll be walking the day after your surgery. You’ll have staples holding your incision closed. You’ll be hooked up to what my aunt’s young grandson called “A Blastoff Machine”. It’s a blue box on a wheeled stand. It’s got some some buttons and a digital readout behind a locked clear plastic door. There’s also a huge syringe of morphine locked in there also. There’s a tube leading from the box to an IV bag you’ll have running into your arm. And there’s a cord leading to a handgrip with a button on it that’ll be on your bed. The doctor opens the door, sets in the dosage and a time, and locks the door closed. When you feel the pain, you push the button and if the timer allows, you get a small amount of morphine added to your drip. The timer might be for 7 or 10 minutes. You only get a SMALL amount, but it’ll keep the edge off pain, allow you to remain lucid, and there’s no chance of you getting hooked.

My mom’s first 2 times, they’d give her a regular shot. She’d be out of it for 1 hour, awake and pain free for 1.5-2 hours, increasingly aware of pain (especially if she moved her leg) as time went on, and in misery for the last 30-45 minutes until she got her next shot. The blast off machine eliminates that.

My mom (we all called her the bionic woman) later had a knee replacement. She was in MUCH more post-op discomfort from that than her hip procedures. She actually had a physical therapist running from her room in tears.

Look, they’re not going to give you a hip replacement unless you REALLY need one. So, go ahead and have it done. After it’s done and all healed up, you’ll be glad you had it done. As for your other questions (I already did the walking), I don’t know about the driving. In the PT/OT room, they had part of a car body for patients to practice getting in and out of a car. And stairs. You’ll not want to shower until the incision is healed and the staples are out. They might send you home with them still in. And they’ll probably want you to take it easy for a couple of weeks after you’re released. They’ll tell you what walking and how much walking they want you to do.

And they’ll probably recommend you get a booster seat for your toilet and maybe a transfer seat for your shower. A hand sprayer would be a good idea, and you can install one of those before you go in.

MacSpon, I don’t know how active your wife is, but worse case, your wife will probably have 20 years pain free non-limping before a redo is necessary. And 3 weeks of post-op discomfort and 20 good years is, IMO, a great trade versus 20 years and 3 weeks of pain and limping around.

My cousin had hip replacement surgery about 2 years ago, at age 57? (I think? Before 60, but not by much.) He was on his feet that evening, and back at work within 6 weeks. Goes out dancing now - something he couldn’t do for about a decade before the surgery. Enjoys the grandchildren, and his quality of life is about 3000% improved.

Grandma had both hips replaced at separate times, during the 1980s, when she was near/past 80 years old. Never had any problems - in fact, she taught me how to Charleston after the first one. We were a sight to behold, cavorting around the front room with the hifi turned up to a volume she could hear, but I guarantee that I was the only kid at my junior prom who could do that dance! She died of a massive heart attack at age 97 - dead before she landed. (And that’s my choice on how to go, if I get a vote.) But the surgery was a good choice for her, too. In spite of the other indignities of old age, Grandma was able to reduce her pain levels and enjoy herself.

'Most everyone I know who has had joint replacement of any stripe have expressed one regret: not doing it sooner.

My mother said her hip replacements were the best thing ever.

Agood friend had her hip replaced about 2 years ago. She was always active and had swum daily so that she was in good shape. When she first went for PT about a week after the operation, the therapist told her that she was already walking as well as most of her patients at the end of the PT. Now you cannot tell that she is any different from anyone else when she walks.

I don’t know when she started driving. I do know that she was advised not to fly for a couple months, but that was on account of the twisting required in boarding a plane and getting into and out of the seat.

Thanks for all the input folks. I appreciate it. I’m not sure if I want the Dr. to say “yep, new hip next week”, or “well, let’s try this shot first”. My wife wants me fixed up before it’s grass cutting season so I can get on the tractor and mow!

I had my hip done in 2010. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Hereis a link to a thread I started after the surgery. That thread has a link to another forum where I recount my experience daily.

Actual recuperation can vary considerably between people so take anecdotes with a grain of salt.

I had an anterior hip replacement just over a year ago. The operation was on a Tuesday afternoon, I was home from the hospital less than 24 hours later. I took that week off work, worked from home the next week and went back to the office the week after that (I have a desk job). The great thing about an anterior hip replacement is that there are no restrictions on movement or hip position. My doctor’s standard response when I asked “How long until I can ____?” was “As soon as you can stand the pain”.

I was on a walker for about 3 days then used a cane for about a week after that. I was back on the golf course in about 6-8 weeks. I played left field on my softball team just over 6 months post surgery. The biggest piece of advice I would give is to start your rehab immediately and stick with it. Initially the exercises WILL hurt. Keep doing them, and increasing reps as you are able. The more you put into rehab, the sooner you will be back to normal.

I didn’t mention, you’ll get a laminated card to show the TSA people when you want to fly somewhere. And handicapped plates if you want them.

One thing to consider is that it is not likely to be “new hip, next week”. More like "new hip three months from now. Probably right in the middle of grass cutting season. When I got mine I waited more than six months, but this was a highly sought after surgeon.

Yeah, I understand scheduling issues. My wife went in for her knees about a week after the decision was made. Different Dr., but same practice. I’m really hoping for something to relieve the pain issue. Now on meloxicam 15mg. For inflammation. Just taking acetaminophen for pain. Sometimes I can walk just fine, then 5 minutes later it hurts a lot.

That’s a PCA, or Patient Controlled Analgesia. The doctor will order the protocol and the nurse will set the machine. Not only does it have time limits, it also has what’s called a lockout; for example, you might be able to get 1mg of morphine every 10 minutes, with a lockout of 10mg over a 4-hour period. Don’t let anyone else push that button, either, or you may lose your PCA privileges. The drug may be in a bag, or a cartridge.

People who have this use, on the average, much less pain medication than those who don’t. :cool:

Broncos’ Peyton Manning reveals he’ll likely need hip replacement surgery in future

Manning may retire after the Super Bowl, so his surgery might be as early as later this calendar year.