American Family Children's Hospital

Getting Ready for Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Contact Information

(608) 263-4069


Joint Replacement Care Plan

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Video: Getting Back in the Game: Partial Knee Replacement Preparing for Your Joint Replacement

As you prepare for total hip replacement surgery at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, you will need to have a physical done by your local doctor within 30 days of your surgery. This will include blood work, a chest X-ray, ECG, and other tests as needed. You will be given forms for your doctor to complete. Your doctor should fax the forms to the Orthopedic Clinic at (608) 263-1266 before your work-up day.
On the day of your work-up visit, bring any X-ray films or other papers that your local doctor has given you. Also, bring along the information packet that you received in the Orthopedic Clinic. Expect to be at the clinic for three to four hours.
You will be meeting with a physical therapist (PT). A therapist will teach you important exercises you will be doing after surgery and discuss any assistive devices (raised toilet seats, crutches, walkers, etc.) that you may need. Be sure to practice these exercises before your surgery.
Also, practice using your crutches or walker. Try placing little to no weight on the surgery leg. This will help prepare you for walking after surgery. If you have GHC insurance, you will need to schedule a visit with a GHC physical therapist.
Planning Ahead
People who have a total joint replacement find it useful to plan ahead. At the time of your clinic appointment, you should speak with your surgeon about your plan for going home or to a rehabilitation center after hip replacement surgery.
Fit, healthy, younger patients may be able to go home after one or two nights in the hospital following hip replacement surgery. Most patients find it helpful to stay for three nights, which is what most insurance carriers authorize. For instance, if your hip replacement surgery is on a Monday, you should plan on leaving the hospital by Thursday.
If you plan to go home and you live alone, you should arrange for someone to stay with you at least for a few days. Most people who go home need home health services for physical therapy and blood draws. A nurse case manager or social worker will work with you and your insurance company to arrange this.
After hip replacement, older patients and those with significant medical conditions often need further rehab or nursing home care before being able to return home. A social worker or nurse case manager can work with you to arrange for these services.
If you know that you plan to go to a rehabilitation facility/nursing home after your hip replacement, it is helpful to visit local rehabilitation facilities/nursing homes and ask about availability around the dates of your scheduled surgery. Please tell the nurse your plans at your pre-op visit.
You will need to arrange for a ride home. A four-door car works best.
When you return to work or engage in other activities will depend on your recovery time. It will also depend on the type of work or activity you do. You should discuss this with your doctor.

You may want to move items from lower shelves to waist level. You will be unable to reach to items below the waist.
Because extra weight increases forces on your new hip, you should not gain over 30 pounds for the rest of your life and minimize lifting and carrying of heavy objects.
Preventing Falls
To prevent falls after surgery, prepare your home in advance. Watch out for:
  • Loose rugs or carpets. Remove all of them.
  • Pets that may run in your path
  • Water spills
  • Bare slippery floors
  • Long cords across floor, such as phone or fan cords
  • Ice on steps and porches, etc.