How painful is hip replacement surgery?

The doctor says that I need 2 knees and 2 hips to be replaced due to arthritis. How painful is the surgery and how long is the recovery?

I’ve had both hips replaced in separate surgeries because of severe osteoarthritis. I can answer your question about hip surgery. Of course the surgical procedure itself is done under either general or spinal anesthesia with sedation so you won’t feel a thing. I had general anesthesia, then had a PCA [patient-controlled-analgesia] pump for the next couple of days. The PCA pump enables the patient to push a button and get more pain meds as needed. After that I was put on oral meds. I really feared the pain since I had never had any kind of surgery before. However what I experienced was not nearly as bad as what I imagined. Mostly I had no pain except when I moved "wrong" or when they turned me on my side at the hospital. That pain was sharp and fleeting. You’ll no doubt discover that hospital staffs have become very concerned about patients’ pain and you will be frequently asked to "rate your pain" on some sort of scale.

The surprising thing was that the old arthritis grinding pain was instantly gone the first day! Amazing.

After a 4-day hospital stay, I was dismissed to go home. While at home I had visiting nurse and PT for 2 weeks. After that I went to outpatient PT for about 5 weeks and used a walking aid (walker or forearm crutches to start, then a single crutch, then a cane) for a couple of months. The incision itself heals up in a couple of weeks but that isn’t the end of "recovery". I was told by my doctor that a patient may gain strength and muscle tone up to a year after surgery. For all practical purposes I suppose one is "recovered" when they can go back to work. Depending on the type of work they do, they might be returning as early as a month or as long as 3 months. It all depends on the patient, the type of surgery, the nature of the job, and the direction of the surgeon. Others may consider they’re "recovered" when they are approved to drive again. I drove at about 5 weeks.

I have no personal experience with knee replacements but I’ve been told (by my physical therapist) that recovery from TKR can be a bit more difficult and painful than from hip replacement.

5 thoughts on “How painful is hip replacement surgery?

  1. The surgery probably won’t hurt at all! You will probably be under anesthetics. The recovery could vary from 2 months to a year, but of course it would gradually improve. I’d suggest you ask your doctor about this. Good luck with the surgery!
    Merry Christmas!
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  2. Honestly, you’ll feel better as soon as you wake up after the operation. That deep down intense pain in the hip joint will be gone after the surgery. You’ll still have some pain from the incision, but you’ll get pain meds in the hospital and that incision pain will go a
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  3. I have the exact same problem. The pain I feel on a daily basis is tremendous. I am betting yours is too. The operation is no picnic. But at least you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is temporary compared to the endless pain you have now. Did he even try to inject the hip and knees. I had my knees and hip injected every year. I am putting off surgery as long as possible. I am waiting for one of the orthos I work for to start putting in the new hips that never need replaced. As it stands now, hips, knees have a life span of 10-15 years. The new titanium ones dont have an expiration date. But I would try injections first. If he will not do it, try a pain clinic. My ortho will not do the injections but my pain clinic does. Look on the web or your yellow pages for a pain clinic near you. Hope this helps. I know what you are going threw. I have been going threw it for 15 years now. I also have fibromyalgia.
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    surgical ortho nurse

  4. On December 31 I will be undergoing my 3rd hip surgery of the year and 2nd hip replacement on the same hip. The surgery recovery is real important to the amount of pain you will be feeling. Please be sure to follow all hip precautions that you will be given and also be sure to do the Physical Therapy. It is painful but well worth it in the end. Full recovery can last up till one year.I wish you luck and wellness.
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  5. I’ve had both hips replaced in separate surgeries because of severe osteoarthritis. I can answer your question about hip surgery. Of course the surgical procedure itself is done under either general or spinal anesthesia with sedation so you won’t feel a thing. I had general anesthesia, then had a PCA [patient-controlled-analgesia] pump for the next couple of days. The PCA pump enables the patient to push a button and get more pain meds as needed. After that I was put on oral meds. I really feared the pain since I had never had any kind of surgery before. However what I experienced was not nearly as bad as what I imagined. Mostly I had no pain except when I moved "wrong" or when they turned me on my side at the hospital. That pain was sharp and fleeting. You’ll no doubt discover that hospital staffs have become very concerned about patients’ pain and you will be frequently asked to "rate your pain" on some sort of scale.

    The surprising thing was that the old arthritis grinding pain was instantly gone the first day! Amazing.

    After a 4-day hospital stay, I was dismissed to go home. While at home I had visiting nurse and PT for 2 weeks. After that I went to outpatient PT for about 5 weeks and used a walking aid (walker or forearm crutches to start, then a single crutch, then a cane) for a couple of months. The incision itself heals up in a couple of weeks but that isn’t the end of "recovery". I was told by my doctor that a patient may gain strength and muscle tone up to a year after surgery. For all practical purposes I suppose one is "recovered" when they can go back to work. Depending on the type of work they do, they might be returning as early as a month or as long as 3 months. It all depends on the patient, the type of surgery, the nature of the job, and the direction of the surgeon. Others may consider they’re "recovered" when they are approved to drive again. I drove at about 5 weeks.

    I have no personal experience with knee replacements but I’ve been told (by my physical therapist) that recovery from TKR can be a bit more difficult and painful than from hip replacement.
    References :

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