Preventing problems (complications)

Your health care team will do many things to reduce your chance of developing a complication after surgery.

  • Your blood pressure, temperature and pulse will be taken often after surgery.
  • Your surgical leg will be checked often for movement, feeling, circulation and pulse.
  • You will do thigh squeezes, buttock squeezes and ankle pumps to improve circulation and strength.
  • You will receive medicine to prevent blood clots.
  • You will do deep breathing, coughing exercises and use an incentive spirometer to help protect your respiratory system.
  • Your dressing and incision will be checked regularly. If you have sutures or staples, they are usually removed at your first follow-up visit with your surgeon.
  • You may have a small tube that is connected to a wound drain or collection container. It will draw out excess blood and fluid from the area around your incision. This small tube will be removed the day after surgery.
  • You will have an intravenous (IV) line that will be removed before your leave the hospital (discharge). It is important to drink six to eight glasses of liquid each day.
  • Your inactivity and pain medicine combined can cause constipation. To help prevent this:
    • Drink plenty of liquids.
    • Eat foods with plenty of fiber including whole-grain bread, bran cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables.
    • Increase your activity as you are able. 
      Talk to a member of your health care team about a bowel program if you are uncomfortable and the actions above are not working. You may receive a stool softener medicine to help prevent constipation.

Ask a member of your health care team if you have questions about these care activities.

Ask a member of your health care team if you have any questions about the activities to help prevent problems.

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