Will I need any tests before I have a hip replacement?
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.
Are there any other things to consider about hip replacement?
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:
- A spinal anaesthetic
- A general anaesthetic
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
Primary Total Hip Replacement: A Guide to Best Practice; British Orthopaedic Association (2012)
Arthritis of the hip (end stage) - hip replacement (total) and resurfacing arthroplasty; NICE Technology Appraisal Guidance, February 2014
Would someone kindly explain why, after getting comfortable on my side in bed with no feelings of pain or heavy thighs at all, in the space of about one hour my operated thigh on top feels as heavy...sarah22500
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