Hip Surgery Post-Surgery Care: Diet, Wound care, Discharge instructions and More | Singapore General Hospital
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Hip Surgery - Post-surgery care

Recovery Room

After your operation, you will be taken directly to the recovery room. Your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate will be checked frequently.

Please inform the nurse if you are feeling nauseous or experiencing any pain, so that medication could be given to relieve your discomfort.

You may also be put on Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) to help you control you pain. Your anaesthetist would explain to you before the surgery on the use of the patient demand button. Alternatively, you may be put on an epidural catheter for pain control.

When you are awake and your blood pressure and pulse have stabilised, you will be transferred to the ward’s High Dependency Room.

Nursing Care

In the High Dependency Room, the nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse closely for the first 24 hours. In addition, she will inspect the bandage on your hip and also check the colour, warmth, movement and sensation of your leg, heel and foot. Humidified oxygen may be given by mask to assist you in breathing and to loosen secretions in your lungs.

As you are required to rest in bed, we advise that only two visitors at one time can be with you during the visiting hours. When your condition is stable, you will be moved to the general ward.

Relief of Post-Surgery Discomfort

Some level of discomfort is to be expected after the surgery. Whilst you are in bed, your legs may be supported by a special abduction pillow. This is used to keep your hip in neutral position to prevent you from crossing your legs. However, if you find the abduction pillow uncomfortable, please inform your nurse.

It is important that you do not try to twist or turn in bed without your nurses’ help. This is because your new hip can potentially dislocate if it is in the wrong position.

You will be given medications in the form of injection or tablets to relieve any pain, as well as to help you recover from the surgery.


You will be served a light beverage like ovaltine or milk when you have recovered from the effects of the anaesthesia. An intravenous drip will be inserted into your hand or arm. This will be removed once you are drinking adequate amount of fluid and are no longer feeling nauseated. Subsequently, you can have some light food. When your appetite returns to normal, solid food will be served.

Wound Care

Your wound will be covered with a dressing, which will be changed to a lighter and more comfortable one within 48 hours. The wound dressing will be changed if it is soaked with blood or serous fluid from the incision wound.

You will have one or two drainage tubes inserted near your wound. These tubes drain the excess fluid away to prevent swelling and bruising around your hip. They are connected to drainage bottles hooked onto your bed and are removed when instructed by the surgeon.

As your wound heals, you may experience unusual sensations such as tingling, numbness or itching, which are all normal. The stitches or clips on your wound will be removed between 10 to 14 days after the surgery.

Pressure Sore Prevention

While you are confined in bed, it is very important to relieve the pressure from your buttock regularly to prevent it from becoming sore. Your nurse will help you to change position until you are able to do so yourself.

You will find a “patient helper’ attached above the bed. You can use it to lift yourself up. The nurse will show you how to use it properly.

Personal Hygiene

For the first few days when you are confined to bed, washing will take place in bed.

You will be able to have your shower once you are allowed out of bed. The nurse will assist you initially until you are confident to do it yourself.

Elimination Needs

A combination of changes in your diet, reduced activities and medications may result in a change in your usual bowel habits.

As your diet and mobility improve, your bowel actions will gradually return to normal. You should increase the amount of fibre intake in your diet, by eating more fruits, vegetables or cereals that will help to ease constipation.

You may experience some difficulties in passing urine. Should this happen, please inform the nurses and they will try to help you void normally. If this fails, the nurse or doctor may insert a urinary catheter to drain the urine from the bladder. The catheter will be removed once you are well enough to attend to your own toilet needs.


Your physiotherapist will work out a light hip exercise programme with you. You will be assisted to start walking, usually with the aid of a walking frame, when you are well enough. This normally takes place a few days after surgery. You may progress onto using a crutch if necessary.

Your exercise programme will include going to the gym once a day. In the evening and on weekends, you are encouraged to do the exercises on your own, or ask your nurse for assistance. You will also practise walking up and down the stairs before you are discharged for home.

The occupational therapist will also teach you ways to modify your activities of daily living, and provide you with some helpful tips on home safety.

Length of Stay

The average length of stay for patients undergoing hip surgery is between 10 to 14 days. However, the length of stay may vary with each individual.

Discharge Instructions

The following discharge information will help you to take care of yourself during your recuperation at home.


  • Continue with the exercise regime as taught by the physiotherapist, especially straight leg raising and walking exercises.
  • Use walking aids until further instructions from the doctor.
  • Avoid any activity that will cause stress to your hip joint e.g. excessive bending, twisting and lifting of heavy objects.


  • There are no restrictions on your diet unless prescribed.
  • Control your weight, as extra weight will stress the hip joint.


  • Take medication as prescribed.

Wound Care

  • Keep your dressing clean and dry.
  • Your appointment for removal of stitches will be given to you upon discharge.

Special Instructions

  • Take special precautions to prevent dislocating your hip joint.
  • Avoid sitting on a low chair.
  • Keep your knees apart and do not cross legs when seated.
  • Be seated when getting dressed.
  • Avoid using long baths and squatting toilets.
  • Use a pillow between your legs when sleeping on your side for at least 3 months.
  • You may install handrails by the toilet to assist you in your movements.
  • You may use a bar-type stool for showering and kitchen work.
  • Use helping hands or tongs to pick items up from the floor.

When to consult the doctor

Seek medical consultation with your family doctor or at the Polyclinic if any one of the following conditions occurs:

  • Swelling or redness at the operated site.
  • Any other abnormal and/or prolonged symptoms which cause concern.

Follow Up Appointment

You will be given an outpatient appointment for a routine check up with your surgeon. You may also be given a letter to your general practitioner informing him/her of your treatment, if necessary.

Hip Surgery - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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