Hip Post-operative Instructions
Your hip will have a waterproof bandage on it after surgery. You may shower with this on. It is not
uncommon for the bandage to become soaked from the inside out with reddish fluid. This is
because there is fluid continuously pumped through the hip during surgery and some of it will leak
out afterwards. If the bandage becomes too wet, either from the inside out or the outside in, you
may remove it and place a dry bandage or band-aids over your incisions. Otherwise remove the
dressing 3 days after surgery and cover the incisions with band-aids after patting them dry after
showering. Do not submerge your hip in water (i.e., no bathtubs, hot tubs, swimming pools) until
wounds are fully healed (usually 10-14 days).
If you will be using a Game Ready or other cooling device device after surgery, you will be
discharged home with the wrap on your hip. You may set this at any level of temperature and or
compression that is comfortable. If you do not find it comfortable, you may remove it and use a bag
of ice, or nothing at all. You should keep a layer of clothing between the device and your skin. In
general, the more you use this device, or a regular bag of ice, the less pain you will have in the first
few days following surgery. As more time passes following surgery, cooling becomes less helpful.
After the immediate post-operative period, you will likely find it most helpful after you do your
therapy exercises or after exertion.
Things to watch out for
It is normal for you to have soreness around your hip after surgery. Some patients will have some
numbness or soreness in your groin and/or foot from the traction used at surgery. This will resolve
on it's own. It is also not uncommon to have some numbness on the side of your thigh after
surgery. This is due to surgical irritation of branches of a sensory skin nerve to your thigh. This is
also normal and usually resolves with time.
Contact Dr. Wolff at 202-787-5601 if you have any of these symptoms:
- A large amount of bleeding through the dressing
- If you are excessively dizzy
- Excessive vomiting
- Fever over 101.5 degrees
- Redness and swelling
- Foul smelling or pus like discharge
- Your medications do not stop the discomfort
- Chest pain or shortnesss of breath
If you are unable to contact Dr. Wolff or one of his associates and the symptoms persist, go to the
nearest emergency room.
Take this medication everyday for the first month following surgery:
Meloxicam (also known as mobic) 15 mg daily-take with food. YOU SHOULD START THIS THE DAY OF SURGERY. This will help with your pain and inflammation and will help prevent
heterotopic ossification (an uncommon formation of bone within the soft tissues around your
hip). Stop taking this if you having stomach pain. If you have a history of sensitivity to antiinflammatories
(also known as NSAIDs), ulcers or bleeding from your stomach or a history of
kidney problems, then do not take and consult with Dr. Wolff.
For various reasons, you may be prescribed a different anti-inflammatory (Ibuprofen
Celebrex, Arthrotec, Naproxen). The same reason for taking them and cautions
Take these medications only if needed:
Dilaudid (generic called hydromorphone)- Take 1-2 every 4 hours if needed for pain. It is
best to stop this medication as quickly as possible--usually within 1-3 days after surgery.
This medication will cause constipation. Drink plenty of liquids, take a stool softener such as
colace, supplemental fiber such as metamucil, and/or a laxative such as miralax when
taking this. It is not uncommon for this medication to cause itching and upset stomach and
to generally make you feel lousy. Stop it as soon as you can. Do not drive a car or operate
machinery while taking narcotic pain medications. Do not drink alcohol while taking this
For various reasons, you may be prescribed a different pain medication. The same
- Phenergan (generic called promethazine)- Take 1 every 6 hours if needed for nausea. It is
not uncommon to have some nausea after anesthesia. Many patients do not need to take this
medication at all, but if you do, you will likely only need it for the first several hours (up to 24
hours) after surgery.
Other medications which you may have been prescribed:
- Aspirin 650 mg daily. This is given to reduce the chance of getting a blood clot. You
should take this everyday. It doesn't matter if you take this by taking two pills at once or one
twice per day. You should take this for 2 weeks starting the day after surgery.
- Xarelto (also known as rivaroxaban) 10 mg daily. DO NOT START THIS UNTIL THE DAY
AFTER SURGERY. This will help prevent blood clots. This is given instead of aspirin if you
have an increased risk of getting a blood clot (taking hormones, family or personal history of
blood clots, if you are a smoker, etc.) If you have a personal or family history of a clotting
disorder or a history of ulcers or bleeding from your stomach or a history of kidney problems,
please consult with Dr. Wolff.
- Omeprazole (also known as Prilosec) 20 mg daily. YOU SHOULD START THIS THE DAY
OF SURGERY. This will help prevent stomach problems due to the anti-inflammatory
Unless instructed otherwise, you may begin putting weight on the leg which had surgery as soon as
it is comfortable. You should, however, use crutches to assist in weightbearing until you do not
need them. This typically takes at least 2-3 weeks.
When you use crutches, you should try to walk as normally as possible while putting less weight on
the leg that had surgery than you ordinarily would--the rest should be on your hands and the other
leg. Do not hop on the crutches. Keep your leg that had surgery on the ground and use it to walk-
-just put less weight on it. It is easier on your hip to rest your leg on the floor than to use all of the
muscles around your hip to pull your foot off of the floor.
Typically, between the 2nd and 3rd week after surgery, you will start weaning off of the crutches
outside of the house. Around the house, you may begin to go without crutches sooner if you are
not having pain or limping when you walk. Do not limp. If you are limping, you must stay on
crutches until you can walk without a limp.
If you have been given a brace, you should wear this when you are going to be up and around for an
extended period of time. This is used to protect the repair of your hip and to unload some of the
pressure from your hip. You do not need to wear this while sitting or in bed. You also may forgo
the use of the brace for short distances around the home or office. Typically, the brace will be used
for the first 3 weeks after surgery—although in some instances longer.
CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) Machine
You may have been given a CPM machine to use after surgery. This machine is used to provide
early, comfortable motion to the hip. Unless instructed otherwise, you should use this for three
hours per day for the first 3 weeks after surgery. This machine should not be uncomfortable. It
should be set to 0 degrees of extension (knee and hip lying flat) and 70 degrees of flexion. Most
people will set this up in bed or in a comfortable place where they can do other things while in the
machine (sleep, read, watch tv, etc.). If this machine is causing discomfort, adjust the setting until it
is no longer uncomfortable. If you cannot find settings that are comfortable, stop using the
Sequential Compression Devices (SCDs)
You may have been given these to prevent blood clots. These devices go on your legs after surgery.
You should wear them when you go to bed or will be immobile for a prolonged period of time in the
first 2 weeks after surgery. You should use them for at least 8 hours per day. You may wear them
while in the CPM machine and or the cooling machine.
Positioning, sitting, sleeping, etc.
Unless instructed otherwise, you may sit or sleep in any position that is comfortable for you.
Ankle pumps are to be done during the time which you are on crutches and relatively sedentary.
They can be done with the leg elevated, lying down or sitting. Flex the ankle of the operative leg
toward the knee as far as possible and hold for five seconds. Then push the ankle down like
stepping on the accelerator pedal of a car and hold this for five seconds. Repeat this motion ten
times, and do these in sets of ten as often as possible during the day (at least ten times a day).
Assuming you have a driver's license, you may drive as soon as you have stopped taking narcotic
pain medications and can safely control your leg. Particularly if you have had surgery on your right
leg, you should practice driving in an empty parking lot prior to driving on a street to be sure that
you are safe to be on the road.
Going back to work
If you work in a relatively sedentary job, you will typically be able to get back to work within 1 week
Appropriate physical therapy is important to the success of your surgery. Physical therapy should
start within 1-2 weeks of surgery and usually lasts for 3 months after surgery. You should plan on
working with a therapist 1-2 times per week.
The physical therapy and aquatic therapy protocols are available at www.andrewwolffmd.com. You
will need a prescription from Dr. Wolff for Physical Therapy. On this prescription he will provide
direction as to which protocol to follow based on your hip problem, your specific hip surgery and
your ultimate goals.
Follow Up Appointments
You should schedule your post-operative appointments prior to surgery. Call 202-787-5601 to do
Hip Arthroscopy Discharge Instructions
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