Care after surgery

After your surgery, there are a variety of things you need to know for your safety, recovery and comfort. You will receive instructions on your nutrition, medicines, exercise program, activity level, discharge equipment, follow-up appointment, and signs and symptoms to watch for.

Within this section is what to expect during your recovery, a list of commonly asked questions, a list of questions to ask at your follow-up appointment, and information about pain relief, pain medicines, anti-inflammatory medicines, constipation and nutrition.

Ask your health care team if you have any questions. They want your recovery to be as smooth as possible.

What to expect during your recovery

After surgery, it may take a while before you feel like your normal self. Recovery is different for each person. The following are a few things that you may have after surgery and some ways to manage these feelings.

  • You may have discomfort for a couple weeks to a few months after your surgery. To help manage discomfort or pain after your surgery:
    • take your pain medicine as instructed by your surgeon
    • rest between activities as needed
    • lie down and put cold packs around your surgical hip at least three times a day; see the home exercise program page for more instructions.
  • You may have trouble sleeping. To sleep better after surgery:
    • try not to sleep or nap too much during the day
    • try to create a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
    • try not to drink too many liquids right before going to bed
  • Your energy level will be low for at least the first month after surgery. To help manage your energy level after surgery:
    • try to take your pain medicine at the same time each day
    • rest between activities
    • try to get up and move around each hour you are awake
  • You may not have much of an appetite.
    • Your desire for food will slowly return.
    • Be sure to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. Try to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids each day.
  • You may have constipation. This can be caused by taking pain medicine. Learn more about how to manage constipation after surgery.

See Pain Medicine: What You Need to Know for more information on taking pain medicine.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Hip Replacement, eighth edition, ortho-ah-90139
First Published: 10/01/2000
Last Reviewed: 10/01/2020