Getting organised for hip surgery - my advice

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Are you preparing for a peri-acetabular osteotomy (PAO)? Here's my advice for getting organised before surgery.

In the lead up to the operation communicate openly and prepare any key person or organisation (like family/ friends/ work) that you rely on or rely on you. Talk to them about what you will be taking on and why it’s so important to take this opportunity now. Be positive about the outcome expected but don’t underplay the support and time needed to recover.

Let them know you are having a major operation and what your consultant has advised in terms of recovery. Make sure they know this is NOT a hip replacement so that they don’t start comparing your recovery progress to their ‘Auntie Doris’ who was back on her feet within weeks after a very different operation!

Plan a work handover early, allowing room for the fact for you may  possibly be a little mentally distracted/ or slower at work than usual the week before your op. You will also be juggling calls from OT, packing and seeing friends and family that week.

Manage expectations and do not make definite commitments that will put you under pressure and rush your recovery. Anyone who is a worthwhile and most valued friend will show true colours in the times ahead. You will need to pull in favours of support that you will gladly repay later when well enough. 

Think a couple of months ahead, tie up loose ends, and try to make any decisions or make any payments due during the time ahead, that can be paid in advance -try to manage things beforehand so you can put those concerns aside during your recovery.

Plan some nice things to do with the important people in your life before your op. Make sure it’s something you find relaxing but fulfilling, something that you can think about later. Ask them to take a photo of you to look back on and know you will get back to that or hopefully exceed it in the future.

Call your GP surgery and let them know what you are having done and ask them to ensure they know what it is or do some research - as it’s not that common and lot of medical professionals aren't familiar with the PAO. Let them know that you may need support with ongoing pain prescriptions and injections after you return home. You may also need wound dressing at 12-14 days.

Occupational Therapy should be in touch with you before you go in to hospital to talk about your home set up and any special equipment you need after the op. They asked me to measure my knee to heel, my floor to seat of toilet, floor to compressed height of mattress and whether I had armchair and the compressed height. They provided me with a frame for the toilet and a high back chair with arms, although it seems that availability does depend on postcode. If you don’t receive a call from OT- chase it.

Rachel (a physiotherapist) suggested I get a vitamin D and iron supplement and I took this beforehand.

Pre-op assessment before surgery

I had this appointment at the hospital about two weeks before the op. They mainly want to assess your fitness for the an anaesthetic/ operation and any concerns. They talk through your medical history, any drugs you are on and take a blood sample for testing.

Be prepared that a lot of medical professionals you come across have to Google a PAO!  Try not to let this put you off but just be polite but clear with them what it is and be clear it’s nothing like a hip replacement.

January 2022

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December 2021