Hip Replacement - Investigations & Preparation

Authored by Dr Jacqueline Payne, 15 Jun 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Helen Huins, 15 Jun 2017

It is common to be asked to attend a 'pre-admission' or 'pre-assessment' clinic before having an operation to replace your hip. The appointment for this clinic is usually six weeks or less before your operation. At this clinic a nurse will assess your fitness for your hip replacement.

You are likely to have the following tests performed:

  • Blood tests - to check that you aren't anaemic and that your kidneys and liver are working well enough for you to undergo the operation.
  • Urine test - to make sure you haven't got a urine infection and that there isn't any glucose in your urine.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Infection screen - this includes looking for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a germ (bacterium) that is difficult to treat and can cause complications for a hip replacement.
  • A heart tracing (electrocardiogram, or ECG).

You may have the chance to speak to an anaesthetist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or social worker at this clinic but this isn't always possible.

Risks and benefits

You should be given the chance to discuss the risks and benefits of the operation in detail and in language that you can understand. If you have other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or a tendency to deep vein thrombosis or if you are obese, you should also have explained to you how these things may increase the risks of the operation for you.

What type of anaesthetic will I need?

Staff at the pre-assessment clinic can talk to you about the type of anaesthetic for your hip replacement. There are different types of anaesthetic you can have:

An anaesthetist will explain to you which type of anaesthetic is most suitable for you but your preference will always be taken into account. In general, people who have a spinal anaesthetic do better following their hip replacement - they are able to eat and drink more quickly, are mobile earlier and have less need for pain relief after the operation. There is less blood loss during the operation if a spinal anaesthetic is used, so they are also less likely to need a blood transfusion afterwards.

Care after the operation

You will need to consider how you will be looked after once you have had the operation, as you are going to need support with day-to-day activities for a while. If you live alone this may mean needing to have a friend or relative to come to stay with you for a while or it might mean that you need to stay in a care home until you have got your mobility and independence back.

Further reading and references

I went to bed totally relaxed, no pain in legs. Dropped off to sleep sleeping on my side. Woke up after half hour now lower legs aching so much and  thighs like darned lead. What the hell is going in?...

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