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hip replacement surgery faqs

What is total hip replacement?

A total hip replacement is an operation that removes the arthritic ball of the upper femur (thighbone) as well as damaged bone and cartilage from the hip socket. The ball is replaced with a metal ball that is fixed solidly inside the femur. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal liner that is usually fixed inside a metal shell to create a smoothly functioning joint.

How can I prepare for my surgery?

Your doctor will give you a Patient Guidebook that will help you prepare for your surgery and explain how to care for your new joint after you leave the hospital. You should select a “coach” (a family member or friend) who will assist you through the process. Also, plan to attend a pre-op class with your coach at least two weeks prior to your surgery that will explain the process and answer all your questions.

Should I exercise before the surgery?

Yes, you should consult your surgeon and physical therapist about the exercises appropriate for you.

What time should I arrive for my surgery?

Your doctor will give you this information prior to your surgery or you can call the Joint Care Manager at 404.501.5697 to confirm the time of the procedure.

Where should I go once I arrive at the hospital?

Come to Emory Decatur Hospital located at 2701 North Decatur Road in Decatur, Georgia 30033 and park at the Surgery Center lot. Enter the Surgery Center and go to the first floor Surgical Admissions Center. You will sign in at this desk and your family can wait for you in this area while you undergo surgery.

What should I bring with me?

Remember to bring your patient guide book, a copy of your advance directives, your insurance card, and a driver’s license or photo i.d. You can wear your own clothes at the JSC, so bring comfortable shorts, tops, culottes, a pair of well-fitted slippers, flat or tennis shoes. You can also bring a toothbrush, powder, deodorant, razor or other personal hygiene items. DO NOT bring: jewelry or valuables, electrical items, or large amounts of cash.

How long will the surgery take?

The hospital reserves approximately two to two and a half hours for the surgery. However, some of this time is used for preparation of the operation room.

Will the surgery be painful?

You will have discomfort following the surgery, but we will try to keep you as comfortable as possible with the appropriate medication. After surgery, most patients control their own medicine with a special pump that delivers the drug directly into their IV. For more information, read about Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) in your patient Guidebook under the “Day of Surgery- What to Expect” section.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Most hip patients will be hospitalized for two to three days after surgery.

How long will it take before I am back on my feet?

Many patients are out of bed the same day of surgery. Most patients will get up, sit in a chair or recliner and will be walking with crutches or a walker.

How long will my hip last?

A total joint implant’s longevity will vary in every patient. All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on you age, weight, activity level and medical condition(s).

Will I need a walker, crutches or cane?

Yes, for about six weeks we recommend that you use a walker, a cane or crutches. The Joint Care Manager or discharge planner can arrange for them if necessary.

What is Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery?

The anterior approach to total hip replacement has recently become a practical alternative to the more popular posterior approach. This procedure, also called total hip arthroplasty, allows doctors to perform replacement surgery with a minimally invasive technique. The surgery utilizes a smaller incision on the front or anterior of the hip rather than the back or side, and it generally causes less trauma to the tissue under the skin. Click here for more information.

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Emory Decatur Hospital
Orthopedic Services

2701 North Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033

Emory Hillandale Hospital
Orthopaedic Center

2801 DeKalb Medical Parkway
Lithonia, GA 30058


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