Don’t worry — your surgeon has heard them all. Here are 5 common questions they get.
You’ve just had hip replacement surgery — congratulations! You’re well on your way to a more active tomorrow. But did you forget to ask a few burning questions at your last appointment? Not to worry — we asked Dr. Michael Suk, chair of the Geisinger Musculoskeletal Institute and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, some of the most frequent (and embarrassing) questions they hear after hip replacements. So, you don’t have to.
Question 1: Is constipation after surgery normal?
Yes! Constipation is normal after any procedure and is often caused by anesthesia or certain medications. Plus, you’re likely moving around less than you were before surgery. All these things can cause you to get a little backed up.
What can you do to get some relief? Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids — lots of water — and eating foods with fiber, like vegetables and beans. Feel free to use a stool softener, too. Any over-the-counter product will do.
Also, remember that there’s no set rule for how many bowel movements you should be having. If you had one every day before surgery, then that’s your normal. However, some people have only three to four each week, and that’s completely normal for them.
If your constipation doesn’t ease up after at-home treatment, call your doctor.
Question 2: How should I wipe after hip replacement surgery?
Going to the bathroom doesn’t have to cause any worry after hip replacement surgery. There are just a few steps to take so that you don’t experience unnecessary pain or discomfort:
- Lean on your non-operated hip for support
- Support yourself even more with your arm/elbow on the same side
- Use your free hand to reach behind you to wipe
- Avoid twisting your upper body too much
- The foot on the side of your hip replacement shouldn’t turn inward
Make sure your toilet seat is high enough so you don’t have too much trouble sitting or standing up. If your toilet sits too low, a raised toilet seat can help.
Question 3: Will I set off metal detectors with my joint replacement?
If your implant is made of metal, fully or partially, you may set off metal detectors at events, schools or airports. If you’re somewhere that has a metal detector, let the person doing the screening know that you have a metal hip from joint replacement surgery.
They may still have you go through the metal detector, or they may offer you a separate, private screening or pat-down. Communicating that you may set off the metal detector and why is key to making sure the screening still goes smoothly so you can get to where you’re going without incident.
Question 4: When can I get intimate with my partner again after surgery?
Before your surgery, you may have been experiencing limited mobility and hip pain. But once you are completely healed, you’ll notice your mobility has increased and you’ll experience less pain.
You can resume intimacy with your partner as soon as you’re ready — with one catch. You’ll know what your body can do, but you’ll want to avoid any sexual activity for at least two to three weeks after surgery to let everything heal.
Generally speaking, after having hip surgery you’ll want to avoid bending your hip joint more than 90 degrees in any activity (including intimacy), as well as avoiding rotating your leg too much in either direction. This will protect your hip joint while it continues to heal. Avoid the temptation to try anything new and stick to the basics. Call your doctor if you have any questions or experience any new pain afterwards.
At the end of the day, remember to listen to your body. If you feel good enough to travel, you’re likely good to go. If you have any questions, just call your doctor. They’ll always be able to point you in the right direction!