Torbay Hip and Knee Clinic, Mr Gordon Higgins, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Private and NHS Joint Replacement

admission and operative care


After making the decision to proceed with hip replacement your surgeon will provide some information to read over at your leisure. This will explain the risks and benefits provided by the surgery in more detail. Any questions, worries or concerns can be answered by contacting the secretary or making a further appointment. Once you have been listed for the operation you will have an anaesthetic assessment, usually on the same day. The surgeon’s secretary will then call with a suitable operation date. The Occupational Therapy team will perform a home assessment before your operation date to ensure your house is safe for you to be discharged to post-operatively.

The Day of Operation:

The big day has arrived! It’s an early start to arrive on Manor Ward for 7.30am. You will have not eaten or had any thing to drink from 12 mid-night. If it is an afternoon list ; 12.30pm admission time. The nurses on the ward will settle you in and ensure you are comfortable. The surgeon and anaesthetist will review you at 8.00am and answer any further questions you have.  The first case starts at 8.30am. Once you have had your operation. You will spend some time in the Recovery unit prior to returning onto the ward. Your surgeon will review after the list has finished and explain any special post-operative instructions. If you are a day case patient, the physiotherapy team will review you to ensure you are safe to go home using crutches. If you have had a joint replacement/resurfacing you can then relax ready for the hard work to start the day after!

Post-operative Day One:

Patients are generally relieved all has gone well this morning! They have a small dressing over the wound with absorbable sutures in. Pain is controlled with oral painkillers. The spinal/ epidural has usually worn off after 10-12 hours.

The physiotherapy team will assess you and sit you out in a chair. They will teach exercises(see rehabilitation) to be performed on the bed and in the chair. Most patients walk with a walking frame for support on day one.

All patients have 2 post-operative doses of antibiotics after the surgery to prevent potential infection. Patients have TED stockings (graduated pressure stockings) on for a period of 6 weeks and injections for 28 days post-operatively to reduce the risk of blood clots(DVT) in the legs or chest(PE).

Post-operative Day Two:

Time to continue your exercises with the physiotherapy team and progress with the walking frame onto crutches. Your wound will be inspected and a post-operative check x-ray will be requested.

Post-operative Day Three:

Some patients are fit and able to go home on day 3(Most patients who have their hip resurfaced and younger hip replacement patients). The physiotherapy team will assess your stability on 2 crutches to ensure you can safely walk up and down the stairs. Other patients may need one or two more days to rehabilitate/or transfer to a rehabilitation unit for a week or two.

After Discharge:

You will be discharged once you are safe to go home, or to a rehabilitation centre. If a friend or relative is picking you up from the hospital it is important to push the car seat back and angle the back of the seat down so your hip is not flexed as much. A low seat in a small car is NOT advisable. It is important that you take the pain killers and regularly work hard doing the exercises on both hips.

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