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Total Hip Replacement


Total hip replacement (THR) is surgery to replace a hip joint damaged by wear, injury, or osteoarthritis.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have a seizure or feel confused.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your incision comes apart.
  • You urinate less than usual or not at all.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have more pain and swelling in your hip joint, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Use your assistive devices as directed. Examples include walker, cane, and a reacher. These devices will help decrease your risk for falls.
  • Do your exercises several times each day. The physical therapist will teach you exercises. Exercises build strength and prevent blood clots.

Prevent dislocation of your hip implant:

Do the following for up to 8 weeks after your hip replacement:

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair. Use armrests to help you rise from a seated position. Do not sit on low chairs, sofas, rocking chairs, or stools.
  • Use assistive devices given to put on socks and shoes. Do not lean forward to put on pants, socks, or shoes. Do not lean forward or twist to pick items up.
  • Keep your knees apart. Do not cross your legs. You may need to put a pillow between your knees to remind you.


  • Blood thinning medicine may be needed for some time after your surgery. This medicine will help decrease your risk of blood clots.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to have your stitches or staples removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care for your incision area as directed:

Do not get the area wet until it is completely healed. Ask your healthcare provider when it is okay to get the area wet. Change your bandage as directed and if it gets wet or dirty.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. If you are not able to be safe at home, you may be admitted to a rehabilitation facility.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.