Hip Replacement Surgery Dos and Don'ts

ORLANDO, Fla. (KFSN) -- More than 300,000 people in the U.S. will have hip replacement surgery this year, followed by weeks of recovery. But experts say there are some things you can do to speed up the recovery afterwards.

Everything you do before surgery can make a difference when it comes to recovery. Even what you eat.

Steven Barnett, MD, of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute said you should have "A balanced diet. It is not the time to be on a strict diet, trying to lose weight before one of these surgeries because we rely on the patients overall medical status to heal."

But since being overweight will add unnecessary stress to the new hip and increase risk of complication, your doctor may recommend losing a few pounds in the months before surgery. Also, even though it is your lower body that is getting the new joint, you will need some upper body strength to help with crutches or a walker after surgery.

Dr. Barnett said there are "Stretching and strengthening exercises for lower extremities that patients can do leading up to surgery, which will help expedite their recovery."

Some other things to do before surgery: quit smoking at least two weeks before surgery. Smoking affects blood circulation, which delays healing. Also don't drink alcohol at least 48 hours before surgery. Not only can it weaken the immune system and slow recovery, but it can also increase the risk of complications and bleeding after surgery. Finally, talk to your doctor about getting off any medication like blood thinners and how far in advance of surgery is safe to do so.

Dr. Barnett also stresses that surgery should always be the last resort. So before going under the knife, talk to your doctor to make sure all other non-surgical options have been exhausted.

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James Chisum, Health Care Public & Media Relations Specialist


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