Getting Hip Surgery

Hip surgeries are performed to:

  • restore your hip motion and strength,
  • relieve pain,
  • repair damage from injuries,
  • and potentially prevent further joint damage due to structural abnormalities.

Our orthopedic surgeons at University of Utah Health will give you the high-quality care and support you need to make your hip surgery a little less nerve-racking and help you get back on your feet. Our goal is to help you live a pain-free life while doing all your favorite things, whether that means playing sports, enjoying the outdoors, or spending time with your loved ones.

Scheduling Your Surgery & Insurance

When you and your doctor have decided on hip surgery, we will call you to schedule your surgery. Please contact our surgical coordinator at 801-587-7187, if you:

  • have questions about your appointment,
  • have not received a phone call from us, or
  • need to ask questions regarding your surgery.

Our surgical coordinator will notify your insurance company about your upcoming surgery and provide them with any information that they need to authorize it. However, it is your responsibility to talk to your insurance provider about any out-of-pocket charges.

Hip surgery often requires pre-approval from your insurance company.  Our team will submit the paperwork to begin the process.  Some insurance companies require two to four weeks to complete the approval process. Once approved, we will proceed with the surgery.

While obtaining pre-approval helps streamline the insurance process, the insurance companies will state that ‘pre-approval does not guarantee payment’.

For a hip surgery cost estimate, you can reach out to one of our financial advocates at 801-581-2957.

Surgery Locations

Your surgery will take place at one of the three locations listed below:

Hip Arthroscopy Specialists

Preparing for Your Surgery

There are multiple steps needed to plan for your surgery, including:

  • preparing your home,
  • monitoring your medications,
  • optimizing your health, and
  • having any pre-operative lab work done. (This is typically only needed for patients with underlying health problems, and patients having surgery at the University of Utah Main Hospital.)

Preparing Your Home

It can be a long road to a full recovery so you will need to prepare your home for comfort and minimize any safety risks that may be lurking. There are a few things you can do around the house to prepare before your surgery:

  • Get firm pillows for your recliner, couch, and bed. (For comfort, you may need to sleep with your heel raised at an incline above your chest for at least one to two weeks after surgery.)
  • Remove rugs and cords on the floor to avoid any accidental trips or falls.
  • If needed, arrange for child or pet care while you rest.
  • Invest in adaptive equipment such as a shower chair, reacher, or a long-handled sponge for the shower.
  • Stock up on groceries for the first two weeks. (Think frozen or simple meals and snacks.)

Monitoring Your Medications

It is important that you tell us about any allergies or current medications you are taking because we will be giving you pain medications after surgery. If you are currently taking any narcotic pain medications, please decrease your use before surgery.

When your body has built up a tolerance for narcotics, it may make it more difficult for us to manage your pain after surgery. You will also need to steer clear of any anti-inflammatory medicines (Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, and the like) for at least one week before your surgery. 

Optimizing Your Health

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help decrease any risks of complications both during and after surgery. In the days or weeks leading up to your surgery, try to:

  • eat a well-balanced diet,
  • quit smoking (smokers have more difficulty with anesthesia and higher risk of infections),
  • sleep at least seven to eight hours every night, and
  • exercise regularly, such as stationary biking, jogging or brisk walks.

The Day of Before Surgery

The day before your surgery, you will need to call our office at 801-587-5373 between 2 to 5 pm to receive your arrival time for check-in. We typically have you report to the hospital about two hours before the scheduled surgery. While we try to stay on time, actual surgical times can vary so bring something to occupy your time (book, phone, tablet, etc.)  just in case your case is delayed.

You are not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery. This includes NO:

  • chewing tobacco,
  • candy,
  • gum, or
  • mints.

You should also drink lots of water or non-alcoholic or non-caffeinated drinks at least one day before your surgery. A hydrated body will make you feel much better after surgery.

You are allowed to bathe or shower before your surgery. We highly recommend this since it may take up to five days before you are able to do so again. If you shave around your surgical site before your surgery, be careful not to cut yourself as it could increase the risk of infection.

If you feel ill within 24 hours before your surgery, please notify your surgeon’s office.  

Pre-Surgery Lab Work

If your surgery is taking place at the University of Utah Hospital instead of the University Orthopaedic Center, our nurses will need to collect your medical history beforehand. We will schedule an appointment for you at the Surgical Pre-Admission Clinic (SPA). Your visit will likely include:

  • an evaluation of your vital signs, including heart and weight,
  • an electrocardiogram (EKG) of your heart to measure its electrical activity,
  • blood work,
  • a physical exam,
  • a chest X-ray, if needed, and
  • you may meet with an anesthesiologist.

This appointment could take up to three hours so make sure you are on time and bring a copy of any medical clearances we asked you to get.

Day of Your Arthroscopy Procedure

When you arrive (at your assigned arrival time), you will need to check in for surgery. We recommend that you do these things:

  • Bring your identification, insurance cards, and any applicable co-pay or deductible payment with you to check in.
  • Bring a list of your medications, including herbal and over-the-counter drugs.
  • If you needed medical clearance from your cardiologist or family physician, bring any lab work, EKGs, or other medical documents with you.
  • If scheduled to stay overnight, bring your medications in their original prescription bottles.
  • Leave any valuables at home or with your family.
  • Remove your contact lenses or bring your lens case.
  • Make sure you have a responsible adult to drive you home.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing.

For any questions, please call 801-587-7187.

Before You Go into the Operating Room

A nurse will assess your health, which includes:

  • taking your vitals,
  • starting an IV,
  • prepping the skin around the surgical area, and
  • marking the site of operation.

Your surgeon will also visit with you to discuss your surgery and answer any questions you may have. Hip surgery typically takes one to three hours, although could last longer if your hip is more complicated.

Anesthesiology

You will get the opportunity to speak to the anesthesiologist about your:

  • health,
  • medical history, and
  • anesthesia options, including the risks.

For certain procedures, the anesthesia team may offer a nerve block. A nerve block can help relieve the initial pain immediately after surgery. You are under no obligation to receive a nerve block. However, if you are traveling a long distance back home, it may make the car ride much more comfortable after surgery. Your surgeon may be doing alternative local anesthetic injections right after the surgery instead of recommending a nerve block.

For some nerve blocks, we may place a balloon catheter to give you longer pain relief.  You will need to remove the nerve block at home two days after surgery. Your anesthesiologist will give you instructions for how to do this. Please call Pre-Op at 801-587-5373 for any nerve block-related questions. 

Post-Surgery

Once your surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room. Our nurses will monitor your vital signs, breathing, and heart functions. The amount of discomfort you feel afterwards will largely depend on the type of hip surgery you underwent. You will not be pain-free, but your discomfort should be tolerable. We will instruct you on how to do simple exercises and use any special equipment given to you at home.

Hip Surgery Complications

It is uncommon, but all surgical patients are at risk for the following complications.

Infection – It is rare but an infection may occur in the wound or around the incision sites. Check your incisions for signs of:

  • increasing redness,
  • tenderness,
  • swelling or warmth,
  • increased sensitivity to touch, and
  • excessive drainage from the wound.

You may also experience a fever, shaking, chills, or night sweats. If there are concerns of an infection, please call your physician’s office.

Blood clots – Blood clots in the leg are also called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can move to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). While extremely uncommon, pulmonary embolism can be life threatening.  Signs of DVT/PE include:

  • large amounts of swelling in an extremity,
  • cramps in your calf or lower leg,
  • sharp/sudden chest pain, and
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.

If there are signs of swelling or cramping (possible DVT), call your physician’s office. If you are experiencing sudden chest pain or difficulty breathing (possible PE), call 911 and immediately report to an emergency room for further evaluation.

Numbness – Anytime a surgery is performed, the small nerves around the skin can be injured or cut. It is relatively common to have patchy numbness around the surgical area. This numbness should go way within a few months; although, it could be permanent. There are also rare times when you may experience temporary numbness in your genitals for about two to four weeks after surgery due to the way your body is positioned during surgery.