If You're Having Surgery on Both Sides

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Replacing both hips at the same time

Before your operation

  • Depending on where they live, people undergoing their first joint replacement operation may be connected to a home care organization in your community before surgery to discuss plans for surgery and rehabilitation. This may not happen if you are preparing for bilateral hip surgery, so it's a good idea to review the section on Preparing For Your Surgery.
  • Along with other assistive devices mentioned on the website, chances are you will also need two crutches and/or two canes to help you get around during your recovery. These will probably be supplied once you're in hospital, but check with your surgeon.

Planning for your recovery

  • Most people who have bilateral hip replacement surgery should expect to spend time in a rehabilitation hospital after being discharged from the acute-care hospital.
  • If you're employed, you should allow for at least six weeks off from work after bilateral hip replacement surgery, depending on the physical demands of your workplace.

While you're in hospital

  • The in-hospital recovery time for people undergoing bilateral hip replacement surgery is somewhat longer than it is for those having surgery on one hip only.
  • Your therapists will teach you some exercises that can be done while you're lying in bed. They will also show you how to protect your new hip joints during normal activities by not moving them too much or too far before it's safe to do so. The precautions needed after bilateral hip surgery are the same as they are for a single joint replacement, unless your surgeon or physiotherapist tells you otherwise. See How to protect your new joint.
  • Before you do any of the Bed exercises after hip replacement surgery described and shown on this website, be sure to check with your doctor or physiotherapist.

During your recovery

  • The risk for a post-operative blood clot tends to be slightly higher for people undergoing bilateral hip replacement surgery than it is for those having surgery on just one hip. You should be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can report them to your doctor if they occur. See Preventing Blood Clots.

Getting back to normal

  • People who have both hips replaced at the same time often take longer to recover than those having surgery on just one hip. You may need to spend some time in a rehabilitation hospital setting where you will receive therapy.
  • You should follow the precautions listed in this website for at least three months unless your doctor tells you otherwise. See How to protect your new joint.
  • You should expect to have regular follow-up visits with your surgeon to check on how well you're doing following your bilateral hip replacement surgery. After the first year of regular follow-up, your surgeon may recommend that you come in for a check-up visit once a year.

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