How to Prepare for Hip Surgery

How to Prepare for Hip Surgery

You have seen your orthopedic surgeon, and you have exhausted all non-operative treatments of your hip pain. Now, based on clinical exam, failure or conservative management, radiographic and MRI findings it is determined you will need hip surgery.

Having hip surgery can cause anxiety, fear, and inconvenience. There is no good time to have surgery.

However, here are the things I tell my patients to help them prepare for the procedure:

1. Surgery Hurts- If your surgeon tells you that you will have no pain after the surgery, they are lying to you.

There have been incredible advances in anesthesia and pain management in the last few decades, but whether you are having a minimally invasive procedure like hip arthroscopy or a hip replacement you can expect some degree of discomfort.

It is important to know this so you can stay ahead of your pain. My patients are given pain medication post op and are instructed to take them before the pain starts.

It is important to avoid a situation where your pain gets ahead of the medication.

2. Weight bearing restrictions- Make sure that before surgery you are prepared to not be able to put full weight on the affected leg.

It is much easier to learn how to use crutches or a walker before surgery then after.

3. Know how long approximately you will be out of work- People with especially physical jobs may have to miss more work than others while recovering from hip surgery.

It is always safer to tell your job you will be missing more time and come back early then the tell them you will be back in 2 weeks and then be restricted by your surgeon for months.

For many hip surgeries, such as a hip replacement, you can expect to miss at least 6 weeks of work even if you have a desk type job with low physical demands.

4. Be prepared to not be able to drive for a period of time- Especially if you are having surgery on your right leg there will be a prolonged period of time where it is unsafe for you to drive after surgery.

The number one rule is that no one can drive within 24 hours of taking pain medication.

Studies have shown that it is safe to drive after a hip replacement approximately 4 weeks after surgery.

5. What are the expectations of the surgery- “ Doc, will I be able to slam dunk a basketball after surgery?”… well… were you able to slam dunk before?

Make sure you and your surgeon have an in-depth conversation about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery.

Most importantly ask your surgeon about what you can expect from the outcome.

Every Orthopedic surgery has been studied and there are numerous outcome studies that can give specific percentages of patient outcomes.

If you are considering hip surgery, schedule a time to meet with the orthopedic doctors at Westchester Sport and Spine by calling us at (914) 358-9700.


Dr. Michael Gott is a Westchester orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in sports medicine. He has also been an active member of the National Ski Patrol as well as a Member of the Windham Mountain Ski Patrol for 18 years.