FAQs Hip Surgery

What happens after I schedule surgery?

Dr. Hickman's medical assistant will schedule your surgery with the facility you and Dr. Hickman has been selected. The M.A will then authorize this procedure with your health insurance company. Please understand that authorization is not a guarantee of payment and it is always a good idea that you check with your insurance company regarding deductibles, copays, and coinsurance responsibilities. You should also have selected a preoperative appointment in our office. This usually takes place 1-2 weeks prior to your surgery date.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery. You should also wash your surgical site with an antibiotic soap (which will be given to you at your preoperative appointment). You do not need to shave over your surgical site, this will be taken care of in the operating room.

What time will my surgery be?

Your surgery time will be set by the hospital or surgical center. They will contact your the last working day before your surgery. They usually call after 1pm. Questions or concerns regarding the time of your surgery should be addressed to the hospital.

Should I stop my medications prior to surgery?

This will be discussed at your preoperative appointment. If you are taking Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or any other anti-inflammatories you will need to stop these one week prior to the surgery. If you are on Plavix or other blood thinners, please contact Dr. Hickman's office to determine when these should be stopped prior to surgery. If you are diabetic DO NOT take your diabetic medication after midnight on the day of surgery. The hospital or surgery center will instruct you which of your home medications you should take the morning of surgery.

How do I care for my wound?

Your incision will be closed with dissolving sutures under the skin. There will be no need to remove any stitches. You will go home with two dressings placed on your incision after surgery. The first is directly on the skin and is a clear mesh strip that should be left on for 2-3 weeks. If the strip starts to peel off, trim the edges. The second is an outer brown surgical bandage. The brown bandage should be left on for at least 1-2 days after surgery. Once your surgical bandage is off it is okay to shower and let your incision get wet. Let soap and water run across the incision. rinse clean and pat dry. Do not soak the incision for at least 4 weeks following surgery (no tub, pool, hot tubs, river, creeks, etc.). If you have any concerns about your incision you can email a picture to ma.hickman@mountainortho.com

How will my wound look after surgery?

Redness and increased warmth around your incision can be normal. You may continue to note increased warmth for up to one year. If you experience significant drainage from your wound (drainage that soaks through a gauze pad in 5-6 hours), redness extending away from your incision or flu like symptoms, please notify our office immediately.

Do I need TED hose (compression stockings)?

Most patients do not need compression stockings after surgery. They do not help prevent blood clots, but may be helpful in reducing swelling for select patients.

Do I need an ice machine after Surgery?

Ice machines can aid in recovery after total hip replacement. Cold Therapy via an intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) and motorized cold therapy (MCT) machine is very beneficial following a total knee arthroplasty. MCT circulates cold water through a wrap over the injury or surgical site. Some of the benefits of  MCT include: decreased postoperative discomfort, swelling, inflammation, and narcotic use, provides a consistent, comfortable and safe temperature for hours, and enables patients to control and self-regulate pain management at home. IPC mimics natural muscle contractions to increase blood flow, oxygen, and mechanically flush edema from the affected site. When combined with cold therapy, IPC has shown to: decrease analgesic drug requirements, improve range of motion (ROM) during post op recovery, provide better pain control and improve post operative recovery. We provide ice machines through our office. Unfortunately, we cannot bill your insurance for this item so it will be an out of pocket expense. Contact Dr. Hickman's office to inquire about purchasing an ice machine.

What about dental work after joint replacement?

All dental appointments should be avoided for the first 3 months following surgery unless in an emergency. Antibiotics before dental work are not necessary unless a tooth is being extracted for an infection or major periodontal procedures such as gum or bone surgery. They are not necessary for cleanings, cavity fillings, tooth crowns, or other routine exams.

How long will I need to take pain medication after surgery?

Get off pain pills as soon as possible. You should anticipate discontinuing your pain medication 1-3 weeks after surgery.

Will I need home health after surgery?

Most patients following hip replacement are able to go home without home health care after surgery. Depending on your personal circumstances, some patients may be released to a rehab center or to home with home healthcare. In either circumstance, it is anticipated that you would complete rehab or home healthcare after 7-14 days.

Will I need physical therapy after surgery?

Hip replacements rarely need formal outpatient physical therapy. Dr. Hickman recommends short frequent walks as the best therapy after your surgery.

I'm having difficulty sleeping after surgery, is this normal?

Yes, many patients complain of insomnia and night pain after surgery. This is very normal. Dr. Hickman does not recommend or prescribe sleeping pills.

How much will I follow up with Dr. Hickman?

Your first postoperative appointment will be 3 weeks after your surgery, then a follow up at 4 months after surgery, and again at 1 year after surgery. Then you will need annual appointments each year. Should you have any questions or concerns outside of those time frames, please contact our office.