FAQ: Your Stay in Hospital

This page has answers to frequently asked questions about treatment and advice on what to expect during your stay in hospital.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I be in hospital?

Approximately 5 days.

How long does the surgery take?

Approximately 1 hour.

What is the implant made of?

Metal, but a ceramic material may be used for the bearing surfaces. The bearing surfaces may also be metal, or plastic with a metal femoral head.

Will the implant set off metal detectors at airports and other security check points?

Yes, this may occur if more than one joint has been replaced, especially in areas where the technology is more sensitive. 

When will I get out of bed?

You will be usually be able to get out of bed the day after surgery. This is in relation to minimally invasive surgery.

How long do I have to use the abduction pillow (the wedge pillow provided on the day of surgery)?

1 day.

When can I shower?

A waterproof dressing can be used to cover the wound so you can shower.

When can I drive?

If you have an automatic vehicle and the surgery has been on your left hip you should discuss this with your consultant, as you may be able to start driving 3 weeks after your surgery. In all other circumstances you will be requested not to drive for six weeks.

How long do I need to follow the precautions following hip replacements?

The absolute minimum time is six weeks. However your consultant will provide you with more information at your follow up appointment. It will be based on the results of x–rays, physical therapy, your activity levels and following discussion and examination. There are some precautions that will need to be followed for the rest of your life. These include avoiding turning your knee or leg to the extreme whilst sitting, leaning forward when you are seated or picking things up off the floor stiff–legged.

May I use ice–packs to help decrease pain and swelling?

Yes, “ice-packs” are helpful. They may be used on the thigh and knee after surgery.

How long will I need to use support?

Most patients will use some support during the rehabilitation phase.

Will I be able to kneel or squat in order to garden?

Yes, you may kneel on the knee of your new hip. It may be advisable to have a stool or some form of support nearby to help you get up.

How much physiotherapy will I need?

Some patients may require physical therapy longer than is usually required but most do not. You may need extra physiotherapy to help you with additional muscle strengthening.

What sports may I engage in?

Walking is good for your hip joint and excellent exercise. Non impact sports are advisable and these include swimming, cycling and golf. Dancing is good exercise as well. High velocity repetitive impact is detrimental to the longevity of the hip replacement.

What about sex?

This can be resumed at approximately six weeks but once again you may need to be observant of the basic principles of positioning yourself.

Can I play golf after hip replacement surgery?

Start with chipping and putting before returning to a full game. Although exercising is important it is advisable to initially resume golfing by travelling around in a cart. It is also useful to use a caddy or a roller for your bag.

Do not play in wet weather where you may be in danger of slipping or falling.

There are devices that can help you to pick up golf balls without having to bend over.

Golfers with total hip replacements should learn to play with bigger hip turns. Hip movement is controlled more by the lower back or trunk. In doing so the muscles around the hip are less stretched and therefore this reduces the stress at the hip.

What to bring to hospital with you

  • A list of medications you regularly take.
  • Toiletries and/or make up.
  • Pyjamas or night-gown.
  • A bathrobe, preferably a light one that is not long or will impede you when you walk.
  • Reading material.
  • A portable music player and headphones if you want to listen to music.

What not to bring to the hospital

  • Your wallet.
  • Credit cards.
  • Jewellery or any other valuable items.
  • More than £10 in cash.
  • Your own medications or vitamins. It causes confusion with the medication given to you while you are in hospital.

Checking into the hospital

You will be told what time to come to hospital and on arrival you will be checked into your room. You will be asked to provide details about your medical status and medications. You may be admitted the night before or on the morning of your surgery. Your anaesthesiologist and surgeon will meet with you in the hours or evening before surgery.

In the operating room

You will be taken to the operating room on a stretcher. Hip replacement surgery takes approximately one hour and you will be in the operating room for an additional 30 minutes or so for anaesthesia and other necessary procedures before and after the operation.

After leaving the operating room you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be closely monitored for an hour or so. Visitors are usually not allowed in the recovery room but you can have visitors as soon as you get to your room.

Go to preparing for surgery