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How Long Do I Need To Use A Raised Toilet Seat For, After A Hip Replacement: Guide with Illustrations

Having hip replacement surgery can be incredibly confusing with all the things you aren’t allowed to do, and for how long. My mom had a posterior hip replacement, and I think our state of confusion, or at least mine, in the beginning, made it all way more daunting than it needs to be.

If you have been told to use a raised toilet seat after hip surgery by your surgeon, you will typically have to use it for between 6 and 10 weeks following your surgery, before you can start using a regular toilet seat again.

This will, of course, depend on your age, state of health, and your type of surgery – usually you only need to use a raised toilet seat after posterior, or lateral, hip replacements.

Your doctor is the only person who knows how you are progressing, and they will tell you the exact time when you can use a regular toilet again.

After posterior, or lateral, hip replacement surgery, the muscles around the hip, are in a weakened state, have very little tone for some time, and this can lead to some joint instability until the muscles have healed.

So, certain situations, where the hip may be at an angle which causes greater stress for the joint, should be avoided for a number of weeks, because of a minor risk of dislocations.

Sitting, sitting down, and standing up, if done incorrectly and in the wrong position, can all put more stress on the hip, and lead to a dislocation.

To avoid this, one of the measures taken is to lift the level of all the seats you are using, including the toilet, to a height which reduces the stress on the joint.

Do you need a raised toilet seat after hip surgery ?

 

If you have had “posterior”, or “lateral” hip replacement surgery, and the height of your toilet seat is lower to the floor, than the height of your knees, then you need a raised toilet seat after surgery. You will need it for up to 6 to 10 weeks post surgery.

One of the precautions you must take, is due to what is called the 90 Degree Rule.

The 90 Degree Rule is probably the most important of a number of precautions that need to be taken by individuals who have had, either the “posterior”, or “lateral” hip replacement surgeries.

If you wish to find out about the precautions you will have to follow after a posterior, or lateral hip replacement surgery, when sitting and bending, you can read about them in this article – “Do You Need A Raised Toilet Seat After Hip Surgery” in which I discuss and illustrate them.

In this article “How To Sit On A Toilet After Hip Surgery: A Detailed Illustrated Guide”, you can see how to sit on a raised toilet seat, with or without armrests, using a walker, and which is fully illustrated.

 

Do you need a raised toilet seat after an anterior hip replacement ?

 

If you have had anterior hip replacement surgery, you have a different set of precautions, and far fewer than for individuals who have had the other two forms of hip replacement surgeries.

You need only use a raised toilet seat if your toilet is unusually low – your surgeon will be the one to ask if your toilet is too low.

If you are a very tall individual, it may be the case that your toilet is a bit too low.

Anterior hip replacement surgery is performed at the front of the hip, which does not require the cutting of any large muscles which are located at the side or back of the hip.

The muscles at the front are separated for the surgery, not cut through, and as such the joint’s stability is not so affected.

 

How high should a raised toilet seat be after a hip replacement

 

If you have had a posterior or lateral hip replacement, to find a good height for your toilet seat you need to measure from the floor to the back of your knee, to the point that it bends, and make sure that your toilet seat is at the least the same height from the floor, if not an inch or so higher.

 

Correct height for a raised toilet seat

 

To learn more about how to measure a toilet for a raised toilet seat, you can read my article explaining how to check and measure the toilet to see if you have an elongated or a standard toilet bowl – that’s important too – and how to measure yourself to find out how much of a lift your seat needs.

That article is here – “How To Measure For A Raised Toilet Seat”.

 

Toileting after a hip replacement

 

This, again, is really only for individuals who have had a posterior, or lateral hip replacement, and not for those who have had an anterior hip replacement.

Using a walker to sit down, and to stand up

Immediately after your hip replacement surgery, you will learn how to sit on a raised toilet seat using a walker.

You will be taught how to use the walker to back up to the toilet seat, and then how to transfer to the seat, without hurting your new hip.

I have an article all about this with all the steps and illustrations of each step. I cover both raised toilet seats with armrests and raised toilet seats without armrests.

 

Personal Cleaning

Post hip replacement surgery, my mom, sitting on her bedside commode, never had any problem performing any personal care, and had no need to use any devices to help her, but this may not be the case for everyone.

Having certain devices, and models of raised toilet seat, at your disposal, will give make it easier to wipe yourself on the toilet without leaning forwards and risking issues as a result with your new hip –

 

Open Front Seats

Some safety frames with raised toilet seats, and some bedside commodes, have seats which are open at the front, in order that you may have greater access for personal care.

 

Toilet Aids for wiping

The “Freedom Wand” is a long-handled device which has a little gripper on the end.

You put toilet paper in the gripper, retract the gripper, and it holds the toilet paper firmly, and while you clean yourself.

The device handle is tubular plastic, and has a number of extensions which allows you to go all the way up to 30″ in length, for an extra long reach.

Everything comes apart, and it is easily washed.

A similar toilet aid is “Comfort Wipe”, another long handled device, with a different type of gripping system for the toilet paper, or moist wet wipes.

The length of the handle extends a person’s reach by 15 “.

 

Handheld bidet sprayer

Another very helpful device is a handheld bidet sprayer unit.

The unit attaches easily to your toilet water inlet valve, and can be used to clean you without any mess.

If you have an open front toilet seat, it will have lots of room to slip the sprayer in under the raised toilet seat from the front, and then to direct the spray.
 

When can you use a regular toilet after hip surgery ?

 

This is just to give a rough idea.

Typically, after a hip replacement, patients who need a raised toilet seat will use one for up to 6 and 10 weeks, before they go back to using their regular toilet seat.

It will depend on the pain levels, the strength and the age of the patient – in  my mom’s case it was quite a lot longer, but she was 88 and had arthritis in both legs.

Your doctor knows how you are progressing, and recuperating, and he will let you know in your post surgery assessments, when the time is right to start using the regular toilet again.

Again, this is usually for patients who have had posterior and lateral hip replacements.

Patients who have anterior hip replacements will not generally need to use a raised toilet seat.

How soon can I take a bath after a hip replacement ?

This is, again, one of those questions that you will have to get a more exact answer on, especially if you had an anterior hip replacement.

When asking this question, it can be taken in two ways –

  • how soon after surgery can I get water on my stitches or staples
  • how long is it before I can sit on the bottom of a bath tub

 

First, let’s deal with getting the wound or dressing wet – normally, a patient will be asked not to get their stitches wet for at least 48 hours, but ask your surgeon or nurses, as they will be the only ones familiar with the type of dressing that you have.

Some dressings are waterproof, some are not, and some patients will have dissolving stitches, and others may have staples.

Whatever you do, don’t submerge your hip wound underwater, until your surgeon, or nurses, have said that it is okay to do so.

Typically, you can immerse your hip in a bath, hot tub or swimming pool, only after 6 weeks, but you should always ask your doctor first.

At the hospital after your surgery, you should be given all the information on how to care for your dressing, and the wound, by the team looking after you.

 

Bathing in a bathtub after a hip replacement

 

Patients are advised not to sit in the bottom of a bath tub after a hip replacement for approximately 12 weeks, as the risks of breaking the 90 Degree Rule, and of slipping when sitting or standing up are too great, plus as I just noted, you cannot submerge your hip underwater for at least 6 weeks after surgery.

If you have a bath transfer bench, or a bath board, and you know how to transfer, you can use that to transfer to a seated position over the water – you should be able to do this after a couple of days.

You will still have to sit on the bench, not in the water, and stick to the 90 degree rule of no bending or leaning forwards, so you’ll need to have a handheld shower head on a long hose, and a long handled sponge for washing.

Don’t forget to find out about the type of dressing you have from your nurses or doctor, and whether you are able to get it wet.

Getting in, and out of a bath, to stand is going to very risky in the beginning, so you will have to ask your doctor about when you will be allowed to do that.

 

Taking a shower after a hip replacement

 

You will probably be allowed to shower quite soon after your operation, and you will typically do that seated on a shower chair, using  a handheld shower head and a long handled sponge to do so.

You will need to ask your surgeon or nurses what type of dressing you have, and if it needs to be covered if it is not waterproof.

In most cases, you can cut two pieces of plastic, from plastic bags, and then tape each of the two pieces of plastic over your dressing, if it is not waterproof, and this should stop any water getting through to the dressing.

In case you do get your stitches wet, you will also need to find out ahead of time, about whether this is okay, and what to do if isn’t.

Helpful items for after a hip replacement

You can make your life considerably easier after a hip replacement- and again this mainly applies to individuals who have had a posterior, or a lateral hip replacement, as they will have to take the most precautions, and be really careful to not lean or bend forwards – if you have a number of assistive devices available to you when you get home from your surgery.

General –

 

– Reacher/ grabber – a basic lightweight, long handled, reaching aid which will allow you to pick up items without reaching down and bending.

– a leg lifter – this a type of strap with a semi-rigid section in the middle, is used to lift your leg on to, and off, a bed, or over the edge of the bathtub if you are using a bath transfer bench, or bath board.

The leg lifter has a loop for your foot on one end, and a smaller loop for your hand, and you pop your foot into the larger loop, shorten the strap with your hand until it is taught, and lift your leg using the strap, and swing it slowly to where you want it.

It really is a fabulous device for getting your operated hip leg on and off the bed without too much pain, and it stops the user from bending their leg while doing so.
 

Walking Aids –

 

– A walker – immediately after surgery and for at least a week, you will be using walker to help to maintain your balance, and to keep your weight off your new hip, sitting down, and standing up, and especially when using the toilet.

You can also get walker pouches which you can attach to your walker to enable you to carry a few lightweight items around with you.

– Canes – you will use a walker after surgery to start walking again, and then you will progress to walking with several canes, then one cane (in some cases hospitals prefer crutches, but eventually you will use a cane for a period of time).

The speed of the transitions from one aid, to the next, will depend on a person’s age, how strong they are, and also how well the surgery went.

 Toileting Aids –

 

– A raised toilet seat – this raise the height of your toilet seat.

– A bedside commode – this can be used as a raised toilet seat or as a toilet in a bedroom, which is especially handy for when you first come home from the hospital, and even more so at night.

– Toilet wands – allow you to clean yourself after going to the toilet without have to bend or over reach.

– Handheld bidets – these are a great way of cleaning yourself after going to the toilet, and which also eliminate any bending down, or over reaching.

 

Dressing Aids –

 

These are inexpensive little devices, that can really make dressing much more comfortable, allowing you to perform tasks without bending over or reaching down and injuring your new hip, such as putting on socks, or pants.

 

– Elastic shoes laces – you can use the reacher to pull them up, tie them and then let go, and they will become short again

– Slip on Shoes (not a device, I know, but they make life easier)

– Long handled shoe horn – this is really just a giant shoe horn to facilitate putting your shoes on without bending.

– Sock Aid – a device which you put your sock over, and then with a strap you pop your foot in and then take the reacher and pull upwards – avoids you bending.

– Dressing stick – a long-handled stick with a hook on the end which helps you put your cloths on without twisting or bending in ways you should not.

 

Bathing aids

 

– Bath transfer bench or Bath board – allows you to sit over your bathtub and wash

– Shower chair – makes showering much safer as you are seated

– Long handled sponge – a long plastic handle with a sponge on the end to help you wash without bending

– Hand-held shower head – this is very important as it means you don’t have to move around to get wet, and again you can rinse yourself all over without any twisting or bending.

– Non-slip rubber mat – wherever you have water that you are will be standing in, you should have a non-slip mat, so definitely the shower

– Grab bars – on the walls of the shower and above the bathtub, grab bars are a great way to avoid having falls on slippery surfaces – I prefer the type which have a rough engraved grip, as your hands don’t slip when they are wet.

We have had three types of grab bars which are supposed to hold on to the wall by suction, and they all just came off the wall with no real pressure, so I wouldn’t bother with buying those.

I know it is extra work, but I would only use the grab bars which you have to screw on to the wall – it isn’t that hard to do.

– Toilet safety frame – a toilet safety frame is really just a set of big armrests which fits onto your toilet or over it, to add a little support when you are sitting down or standing up.

Some models are without legs and attach to the toilet, and other models stand over the toilet on have four legs.

Best raised toilet seats after a hip replacement

I have a full article which goes into great detail about why I think these are the best raised toilet seats for after a hip replacement, with all the specs and differences between the seats, and you can find that here – “Best Raised Toilet Seats After A Hip Replacement”

Here’s the list of what I think are the best models of raised toilet seats, depending on the age and weight of the user –

 

Best raised toilet seat for the elderly after a hip replacement

 

1) OasisSpace Stand Alone Safety Frame and Raised Toilet Seat – with a hard seat

2) OasisSpace Stand Alone Safety Frame and Raised Toilet Seat – with a padded seat

3) PlatinumHealth Ultimate Raised Toilet Seat (safety frames with raised toilet seat)

4) Medline – basic 3-in-1 Bedside Commode

5) Nova Drop-Arm Padded Commode

6) PlatinumHealth GentleBoost Uplift 3-in-1 Commode and Shower Chair

 

Best raised toilet seat for larger elderly seniors (over 350 lb) –

 

1) Nova Heavy Duty Drop-Arm Commode 8583

2) Drive Deluxe Bariatric Drop-Arm Commode 11135-1

Best raised toilet seat after a hip replacement for a younger senior in good shape

 

Risers with armrests –

 

1) Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser with arms  (standard), Model No. 8344-R

2) Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser with arms  (elongated), Model No. 8343-R

3) Vive 3.5″ toilet seat riser with handles  (standard), Model No. LVA1071S

4) Vive 3.5″toilet seat riser with handles  (elongated), Model No. LVA1071E

Front locking raised toilet seat with armrests

 

1) Vive raised toilet seat with detachable handles, Model No. LVA10011

2) Drive Medical Premium plastic raised toilet seat with armrests, Model No. 12013

3) Nova raised toilet seat with detachable arms, Model No. 8351-R

I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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