What can I Expect from Hip Fracture Surgery?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.

The recovery time and pain involved with recovery from hip fracture surgery will depend on your age, what type of surgery you end up getting, and your overall health. Different surgeries address different types of fractures, and while some hip fracture surgery procedures may involve inserting metal pins or screws to hold the bone together, other surgeries may require complete joint replacement. Regardless of the type of surgery you undergo, you should expect to undergo a lengthy healing process that will eventually include physical therapy to restore mobility and strength after hip fracture surgery. In older patients, the recovery period can be painful and especially lengthy.

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.

Partial joint replacement can also be performed as hip fracture surgery in some cases, and while the recovery time that results from this type of surgery is not as lengthy as that associated with a full joint replacement, one can still expect to be limited to bed rest for several weeks or even months. It is important to consult a doctor regularly to monitor swelling, pain, limited mobility, and possible infection of the incision wounds. Once the repaired area begins to heal, you will very likely need to visit a physical therapist several times a week to restore mobility and strength to the joint. This process can be one of the most frustrating and painful, but it is also the most important step in the process.

Following hip fracture surgery, pain medication is typically given through an intravenous line.
Following hip fracture surgery, pain medication is typically given through an intravenous line.

A full joint replacement hip fracture surgery will require that the entire hip joint be replaced with a prosthetic unit. Many patients feel an immediate difference after surgery and are able to recover relatively quickly. Many people even report feeling stronger and more flexible after the surgery, though such results are not guaranteed. Some patients may feel the same or even worse after surgery, at which point further consultations with a doctor will be necessary to determine the best course of action. Infections are common after such a surgery, which can be a setback in recovery time, so it is important to monitor the affected area closely and consult a doctor if pain develops or persists.

Some amount of pain is common following a hip fracture surgery.
Some amount of pain is common following a hip fracture surgery.

Be sure to ask your doctor plenty of questions about the type of hip fracture surgery you will undergo, as the type of surgery will have an impact not only on healing time, but also on daily functioning once healing has happened. Ask your doctor about the precautions you will need to take after the surgery and beyond to avoid damaging the surgically repaired bones, and ask if your doctor has recommendations for strengthening bones to avoid future fractures.

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Discussion Comments

ddljohn

@turquoise-- Since you're not getting hip replacement surgery, I'm sure you will be back on your feet and pain free in no time. It's a lot harder and takes a lot longer with more complicated surgeries.

My dad had a hip replacement surgery six months ago. What he's been paying attention to is most is following his doctor's directions to the T and not rushing himself with mobility. He always uses his artificial hip precautions and rests as much as he can. Physical therapy has helped a lot too.

burcidi

@turquoise-- I had this surgery a couple of years ago for exactly the same kind of fracture. They always say that hip fractures in the elderly are common. I guess we're at that age!

I can tell you more about this surgery. What the surgeon does is he uses this special table and x-rays to find the place in your hip bone that needs to be pinned together. And then they cut you up from the side, insert the screws and sew you back up. Don't worry, you'll be on general anesthesia the whole time and won't feel a thing.

I stayed in the hospital for three days. I had IV going during that time with pain relievers and antibiotics to prevent infection. Even though I couldn't walk much, the nurses had me stand up and move around from the first day. Apparently not moving can cause blood clots. The fourth morning, I went home with a walker. I had some pain, but could walk way better than before surgery.

I used a walker for several more weeks around the house and slowly started walking on my own. I used pain relievers daily for the first month and then once in a while after. I also had family take care of me during this time. It took me about two months before I could do errands on my own and go on walks around the neighborhood.

turquoise

I was diagnosed with a fracture in my femur bone last week. All I remember is that I had a dizzy spell and fell at home. Next thing I knew I was in the hospital. I'm sixty years old and have osteoporosis.

My doctor has set me up for hip fracture surgery already. I was hoping it wouldn't be necessary but the hip fracture symptoms, especially the pain, has gotten considerably worse. I can't move around at all.

It all has happened very quickly and I'm not sure what's going to happen during surgery. My doctor mentioned that I will get screws to keep my hip together. And the nurses gave me some medications to take before I go in for the surgery, that's about it.

Has anyone had this kind of surgery before? Can you tell me more about what will happen during surgery and immediately after?

I know I will be in the hospital for a few days and my daughter is coming down to take care of me when we get home. But I have no idea what to expect otherwise.

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    • A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
      A severe hip fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
    • A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
      A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgeries to make incisions.
    • Following hip fracture surgery, pain medication is typically given through an intravenous line.
      Following hip fracture surgery, pain medication is typically given through an intravenous line.
    • Some amount of pain is common following a hip fracture surgery.
      Some amount of pain is common following a hip fracture surgery.
    • Patients should consult with their doctors before and after hip fracture surgery.
      Patients should consult with their doctors before and after hip fracture surgery.
    • How fast a person recovers from hip fracture surgery depends, in part, on their age and health.
      How fast a person recovers from hip fracture surgery depends, in part, on their age and health.
    • Hip fracture surgery often involves a lengthy recovery time that includes physical therapy.
      Hip fracture surgery often involves a lengthy recovery time that includes physical therapy.