Information for Patients

Information for patients photo

8 Routine management

a. Pain control. Following the operation, the immediate concern would be the control of your pain. You will be prescribed pain killing medicines which will be commenced in the recovery area. It should be possible to keep the post-operative pain under good control and therefore if you are in discomfort, I would expect you to inform the nursing staff who would be able to take the appropriate action to relieve it. Exactly what type of painkilling medications would be necessary will depend on the discussions you will have had with the anaesthetist prior to the surgery.

b. Hydration. When you return to the ward you will have an intravenous infusion (a drip) going into your arm. This helps provide fluid while you are unable to drink. Occasionally we use this portal for giving blood as well. This drip will remain up over the first 24 hours. It is usually discontinued as soon as you are eating and drinking adequately.

c. Position in bed. Initially you are expected to lie on your back in bed and you will have between your legs a Charnley wedge. This is a wedge of foam that helps keep your legs apart and in a stable position for your hip. This will help prevent any unwanted, harmful movements. If you do need to move at all you will be assisted by the nursing staff or the physiotherapist. Over the first few days following the surgery your mobility will get much better but you will still be expected to keep the Charnley wedge inbetween your legs when you are in bed.

d. Routine Post-operative tests. Following the surgery you will have a post-operative X-ray and a post-operative haemoglobin (blood test done).


hip replacement

e. The wound. The wound will be covered with a dressing. There may be a drain coming from it. This is a polythene tube that comes through the skin and helps to take away any bleeding that would normally occur around the new hip. The tubing goes into a bottle which is under vacuum and is therefore sucking the blood away from the new hip. This helps prevent excessive bruising and infection. The wound would be dressed as required, depending on if there is any seepage of fluid onto the pad. The wound is normally closed with a stitch which will NOT need to be removed..
Do not be surprised if there is some bruising extending down the leg. This is not unusual.

f. Physiotherapy. The physiotherapist will provide you with a list of exercises that they would want you to do. These can start usually the first day after your operation. The physiotherapist will help initially get you in and out of bed and subsequently will increase your exercises as you are able.