In the recovery room, the nurses will seem very busy, taking your vital signs and blood pressure, monitoring any drainage from the surgical site, checking the functioning of your leg, and making sure that you are comfortable. When you are awake and feeling comfortable, you will be transported to the orthopedic ward for the next 2-3 days. You may be allowed to sit up on the edge of the bed for dinner the evening of surgery and even take a few steps on your new hip with a physical therapist.
The first day after surgery, a physical therapist will visit. You will begin strengthening your muscles and work on getting in and out of bed, in and out of a chair, and will start walking. You usually are encouraged to place full weight on the hip from day one. The therapists teach you precautions to follow to prevent dislocation. These are most important during the first 6 weeks after surgery and are much less rigid than those used with older total hip replacement techniques.
Almost all patients go home by the 3rd post-operative day. Most are getting in and out of bed independently, up to the bathroom, and walking the hallway with the aid of a walker or crutches, or even a cane. A home nurse and home physical therapist will assist you and assess your progress 3 times weekly once you leave.
Rarely, a patient may need to go to a rehabilitation hospital for a few days after leaving the hospital. This only happens if your walking and general mobility is not considered safe for discharge by the 3rd or 4th post-operative day.