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 one to two days after surgery.
  • You will have an intravenous (IV) line for one to two days. 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.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Hip Replacement, fifth edition, ortho-ah-90139
First Published: 10/01/2000
Last Reviewed: 05/26/2017

Be prepared

for your hospital stay

Research shows that patients who take an active role in their health care can have better outcomes than those who don't. Here's some simple advice on how you can be prepared for your hospital stay.