Arthroscopic Surgery of the Hip
The following information is designed to answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding what to expect and what to do after arthroscopic hip surgery. These are general guidelines, if you have any questions or concerns, please give Dr. Wilson’s office a call at (334) 749-8303.
Dressing and Wound Care
During arthroscopic surgery, the joint is irrigated with water. There will typically be 2-4 small incisions closed with sutures. Your hip will be covered with a sterile dressing. Water may gradually leak through these incisions, saturating the bandage. This blood-tinged drainage may persist for 24–36 hours. If it has not significantly decreased by this time, please call our office.
The bandage may be removed 2 days after surgery. The incisions should be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide and water then covered with an adhesive bandage. As soon as the incisions are dry, you may leave them uncovered. Do not use ointments such as Neosporin on the incisions. You may shower 2 days after surgery, once the dressing has been removed. The incisions should not be soaked (e.g., bathtub, hot tub, swimming pool, etc.).
If the incisions show any signs of infection, please contact our office. Specifically, if there is increased redness, persistent drainage, if you have fever >100.4 degrees, or if the pain does not progressively decrease, you should call the office.
During the first 48-72 hours, ice can be helpful to decrease pain and swelling and is especially important during the first 24 hours. Ice bags/packs should be wrapped in a towel and applied for 20 minutes at a time every one to two hours. If the skin becomes very cold or burns, discontinue the ice application immediately.
Ambulation and Movement
Unless you have been otherwise instructed, you will be allowed to bear as much weight on your leg as is comfortable immediately after surgery. Crutches are often necessary to help decrease discomfort while walking for the first few days to weeks after surgery. Please use crutches at least until your first follow-up appointment with Dr. Wilson.
Your level of discomfort will most often be your best guide in determining how much activity is allowed. Remember that it is very easy to overdo in the first few days after surgery and any increase in pain or swelling usually indicates that you need to decrease your activities.
You will be given a prescription for pain medication. Please take these medications as directed on the bottle. If you have any known drug allergies, check with the nurse prior to taking any medication. Please note that we are unable to call in prescriptions for narcotics after office hours. If you need a refill, please call early in the day so the nurse can call in your prescription.
Some medications do have side effects. If you have any difficulty with itching, nausea, or other side effects, discontinue the medication immediately and call our office. Pain medication often causes drowsiness and we advise that you do not drive, operate machinery or make important decisions while taking medication.
Blood Clot Protection
Aspirin serves as a mild blood thinner and may decrease the chance of blood clots forming in the leg. Although this is uncommon, it can be a difficult problem. If you are able to take aspirin, you should take one aspirin (325 mg) once daily for two weeks following your surgery.
Physical therapy usually begins within a few days to weeks after your surgery depending on the exact procedure Dr. Wilson performed. The therapist will outline an exercise program specific to your type of surgery. The purpose of physical therapy is to help you regain the use of your hip in a safe and progressive fashion. If you have any questions regarding your exercise program, please contact the physical therapist. If you are unaware of when or where your therapy is, please call the nurse and she can help you determine this.
First Post-Operative Visit
Your first post-operative appointment will be scheduled for you before you leave the hospital and is usually within 2 weeks of your surgery. The findings at surgery, long-term prognosis, and plans for rehabilitation will be discussed at this appointment. Please bring your arthroscopic pictures to this appointment so Dr. Wilson can review them with you. If you are unsure of when your first post-op visit with Dr. Wilson is, please call the office and someone will help get one scheduled.
If you are having any problems, contact us right away. Dr. Wilson or his nurse are generally available during business hours. If it is after office hours, the answering service will contact the doctor on call.
Remember, if your pain increases, check for signs of infection (redness, drainage, fever, etc.), decrease your activities, use ice, and take your pain medication as prescribed. If the pain persists, or if there are signs of infection, call our office at (334) 749-8303.
Thank you for choosing Dr. Wilson as your surgeon. We look forward to getting you back to an active and pain-free life!