You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ – this is applicable to most things in life, including recovering from surgery. There are a number of things that patients and their surgeons can do to ensure that patients are fully prepared for their surgery and the recovery period. Adhering to these steps can have a marked impact on how quickly and how successfully you recover from surgery.
Hip replacement surgery is a major operation, so it is important to ensure that the necessary plans are put in place in advance. The first stage of prep is called pre-operative planning and this is the responsibility of your hip surgeon.
The hip surgeon’s to-do list
They will need to conduct a full anatomical assessment of the patient and design a bespoke treatment plan that takes into account the specific sizing of the components required for the artificial joint to accurately restore biomechanics. With conventional hip replacement surgery, this is done using X-rays, although in very complex cases a CT scan might be required.
Mr Simon Bridle now offers his patients the option of MAKO robotic hip replacement surgery, which has made the pre-operative planning stage much more precise and tailored to the individual patient. Prior to surgery, a CT scan is performed and that information fed into the MAKO software. A CT scan analyses the joint in multi-dimensions and a 3D model is produced which will be used by Mr Bridle as a guide during surgery.
The patient’s to-do list
- Embrace healthy living
One recommendation for patients who are preparing for surgery is to ensure that you get in good shape physically before your operation. Smokers are advised to cut down (or ideally quit, if possible) as smoking hampers the body’s ability to heal. The reason that smokers experience more complications in healing from surgery is because smoking affects how well blood is circulated around the body.
- Eat well before and after your surgery
Making sure you’re eating a well balanced and healthy diet will also help your body be in the best possible shape before surgery. Ensuring you’re getting a balanced intake of vitamins and minerals will help your body heal. If you are able to exercise gently (depending on how much mobility your current hip joint will allow) then this is also a good idea as it will help keep your weight stable. Gaining weight before an operation such as this is not advised as excess weight can put undue pressure on your recovering joint(s).
- Get your house in order
Another job to do beforehand is to make your home ready for your return. Have a look around and reposition important household items so they are at a low level so that you can reach these easily. This could include things like the phone and remote control, but also things you will need in the kitchen which might be too heavy or awkward to lift down from higher cupboards. With the kitchen in mind, it is also sensible to batch cook some fresh meals that you can freeze and then prepare easily when you are recovering.
- Get booked into ‘pre-hab’
Patients can also benefit a great deal from a bit of ‘pre-habilitation’. This essentially means that they can be prescribed a series of exercise that can help strengthen core and gluteal muscles, which is helpful in speeding recovery. The Fortius Joint Replacement Centre at Bupa Cromwell Hospital offers a Joint School where patients can be seen by a physiotherapist who can assess them and provide them with suitable exercises to undertake in the weeks leading up to surgery. A good stint of pre-hab exercises can work wonders in terms of getting your body ready for surgery and setting it up nicely for your recovery.