About Your Hip Replacement Surgery

About Your Surgery

This guide will help you prepare for your hip replacement surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), and help you understand what to expect during your recovery. Read through this guide at least once before your surgery and then use it as a reference in the days leading up to your surgery. Bring this guide with you every time you come to MSK, including the day of your surgery, so that you and your healthcare team can refer to it throughout your care.

Hip Design

Your hip is a ball and socket joint. It is made up of 2 parts: the femoral head which is the top end of your femur (thigh bone) and a socket in your pelvis called the acetabulum. The femoral head is a round surface that looks like a ball. It fits into the acetabulum and allows smooth motion of the hip (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Hip design

If you need a hip replacement, the parts of your hip joint that are damaged will be replaced with artificial parts, called prostheses. These are usually made of metal or plastic. The new joint will help reduce pain and increase your ability to move around.

Types of Hip Replacements

There are 2 types of hip replacements, a partial hip replacement and a total hip replacement. In a partial hip replacement, the femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal stem that is inserted into your femur. A ball is placed on the top part of the stem. A device called a “bipolar cup” snaps on the ball of your new hip and rotates in your own hip socket.

In a total hip replacement, in addition to your femoral head, your acetabulum is also replaced with a metal socket. It is attached to your bone by cement, screws, or your bone itself.

Your Hip Replacement Surgery

Your surgeon will make an incision (surgical cut) that will run about 5 inches above your hip to about 6 inches below your hip. He or she will remove the diseased portion of your bone and replace it with your implant. It will be fitted and fixed in place.

Back to top

Before Your Surgery

The information in this section will help you prepare for your surgery. Read through this section when your surgery is scheduled and refer to it as your surgery date gets closer. It contains important information about what you need to do before your surgery. Write down any questions you have and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.

Preparing for Your Surgery

You and your healthcare team will work together to prepare for your surgery.

Help us keep you safe during your surgery by telling us if any of the following statements apply to you, even if you aren’t sure.

  • I take a blood thinner. Some examples are heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), enoxaparin (Lovenox®), tinzaparin (Innohep®), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto®). There are others, so be sure your doctor knows all the medications you’re taking.
  • I take prescription medications, including patches and creams.
  • I take any over-the-counter medications, herbs, vitamins, minerals, or natural or home remedies.
  • I have a pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD), or other heart device.
  • I have sleep apnea.
  • I have had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • I have allergies, including to latex.
  • I am not willing to receive a blood transfusion.
  • I drink alcohol.
  • I smoke.
  • I use recreational drugs.

About Drinking Alcohol

The amount of alcohol you drink can affect you during and after your surgery. It is important that you talk with your healthcare providers about your alcohol intake so that we can plan your care.

  • Stopping alcohol suddenly can cause seizures, delirium, and death. If we know you are at risk for these complications, we can prescribe medication to help prevent them.
  • If you use alcohol regularly, you may be at risk for other complications during and after surgery. These include bleeding, infections, heart problems, greater dependence on nursing care, and longer hospital stay.

Here are things you can do to prevent problems before your surgery:

  • Be honest with your healthcare provider about how much alcohol you drink.
  • Try to stop drinking alcohol once your surgery is planned. If you develop a headache, nausea, increased anxiety, or cannot sleep after you stop drinking, tell your doctor right away. These are early signs of alcohol withdrawal and can be treated.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you cannot stop drinking.
  • Ask us any questions you have about drinking and surgery. As always, all of your treatment information will be kept confidential.

About Smoking

People who smoke can have breathing problems when they have surgery. Stopping even for a few days before surgery can help. If you want to quit, call our Tobacco Treatment Program at 212-610-0507. You can also ask your nurse about the program.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods while sleeping. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This means that the airway becomes completely blocked during sleep, so no air can get through. OSA can cause serious problems when you have surgery. Please tell us if you have sleep apnea or if you think you might have it. If you use a breathing machine (CPAP) for sleep apnea, bring it with you the day of your surgery.

Within 30 Days of Your Surgery

Presurgical Testing (PST)

Before your surgery, you will have an appointment for presurgical testing (PST). The date, time, and location of your PST appointment will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeon’s office.

You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your PST appointment. During your appointment, you will meet with a nurse practitioner who works closely with anesthesiology staff (doctors and specialized nurses who will be giving you medication to put you to sleep during your surgery). He or she will review your medical and surgical history with you. You will have tests, including an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests necessary to plan your care. Your nurse practitioner may also recommend you see other healthcare providers.

Your nurse practitioner will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.

It is very helpful if you bring the following with you to your PST appointment:

  • A list of all the medications you are taking.
  • Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
  • The name(s) and telephone number(s) of your doctor(s).

Complete a Health Care Proxy Form

If you haven’t already completed a Health Care Proxy form, we recommend you complete one now. A health care proxy is a legal document that identifies the person who will speak for you if you are unable to communicate for yourself. This person is known as your health care agent. If you are interested in completing a Health Care Proxy form, talk with your nurse. If you have completed one already, or if you have any other advanced directive, bring it with you to your next appointment.

Do Breathing and Coughing Exercises

Practice taking deep breaths and coughing before your surgery. You will be given an incentive spirometer to help expand your lungs. For more information, read How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer. If you have any questions, ask your nurse or respiratory therapist.


Try to do aerobic exercise every day, such as walking at least 1 mile, swimming, or biking. If it is cold outside, use stairs in your home or go to a mall or shopping market. Walking will help your body get into its best condition for your surgery and make your recovery faster and easier.

Eat a Healthy Diet

You should eat a well-balanced, healthy diet before your surgery. If you need help with your diet talk to your doctor or nurse about meeting with a dietitian.

10 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop Taking Vitamin E

If you take vitamin E, stop taking it 10 days before your surgery, because it can cause bleeding. For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

Purchase Hibiclens® Skin Cleanser

Hibiclens is a skin cleanser that kills germs for 24 hours after using it. Showering with Hibiclens before surgery will help reduce your risk of infection after surgery. Hibiclens is available at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

Watch a Virtual Tour

This video will give you an idea of what to expect when you come to Memorial Sloan Kettering’s main hospital on the day of your surgery.

7 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop Taking Certain Medications

If you take aspirin, ask your surgeon if you should continue. Aspirin and medications that contain aspirin can cause bleeding. For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

Stop Taking Herbal Remedies and Supplements

Stop taking herbal remedies or supplements 7 days before your surgery. If you take a multivitamin, talk with your doctor or nurse about if you should continue. For more information, read Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.

2 Days Before Your Surgery

Stop Taking Certain Medications

Stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (e.g., Aleve®). These medications can cause bleeding. For more information, read Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

1 Day Before Your Surgery

Note the Time of Your Surgery

A clerk from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. He or she will tell you what time you should arrive at the hospital for your surgery. If you are scheduled for surgery on a Monday, you will be called on the Friday before. If you do not receive a call by 7:00 pm the evening before your surgery, please call 212-639-5014.

Both locations are at 1275 York Avenue between East 67th and East 68th streets.

  • Surgical Day Hospital (SDH). M elevator to the 2nd Floor
  • Presurgical Center (PSC). B elevator to the 6th Floor

Shower With Hibiclens

The night before your surgery, shower using Hibiclens. To use Hibiclens, open the bottle and pour some solution into your hand or a washcloth. Move away from the shower stream to avoid rinsing off the Hibiclens too soon. Rub it gently over your body from your neck down and rinse.

Don’t let the solution get into your eyes, ears, mouth, or genital area. Wash your face and genital area only with your regular soap. Do not use your regular soap on any other parts of your body. Dry yourself off with a clean towel after your shower.


Go to bed early and get a full night’s sleep.

Instructions for eating and drinking before your surgery

12 ounces of water
  • Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.
  • Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 12 ounces of water (see figure).
  • Starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, do not eat or drink anything. This includes water.

The Morning of Your Surgery

Shower With Hibiclens

Shower using Hibiclens just before you leave for the hospital. Use the Hibiclens the same way you did the night before. Do not use your regular soap on any other parts of your body besides your genital area and your face. Do not put on any lotion, cream, powder, deodorant, makeup, or perfume after your shower.

Take Your Medications as Instructed

If your doctor or nurse practitioner instructed you to take certain medications the morning of your surgery, take only those medications with a small sip of water. Depending on what medications you take and the surgery you’re having, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.

Things to Remember

  • Do not put on any lotions, creams, deodorants, make-up, powders, or perfumes.
  • Do not wear any metal objects. Remove all jewelry, including body piercings. The equipment used during your surgery can cause burns if it touches metal.
  • Leave valuables, such as credit cards, jewelry, or your checkbook at home.
  • Before you are taken into the operating room, you will need to remove your eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles, such as a rosary.
  • If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead.

  • Sneakers that lace up. You may have some swelling in your feet; lace-up sneakers can accommodate this swelling.
  • Only the money you may need for a newspaper, bus, taxi, or parking.
  • Your portable music player, if you choose. However someone will need to hold it for you when you go into surgery.
  • Your incentive spirometer, if you have one.
  • Your breathing machine for sleep apnea (such as your CPAP), if you have one.
  • If you have a case for your personal items, such as eyeglasses, hearing aid(s), dentures, prosthetic device(s), wig, and religious articles such as a rosary, bring it with you.
  • Your Health Care Proxy form, if you have completed one.
  • This guide. Your healthcare team will use this guide to teach you how to care for yourself after your surgery.

Parking When You Arrive

Parking at MSK is available in the garage on East 66th Street between York and First Avenues. To reach the garage, enter East 66th Street from York Avenue. The garage is located about a quarter of a block in from York Avenue, on the right-hand (north) side of the street. There is a pedestrian tunnel that you can walk through that connects the garage to the hospital. If you have questions about prices, call 212-639-2338.

There are also other garages located on East 69th Street between First and Second Avenues, East 67th Street between York and First Avenues, and East 65th Street between First and Second Avenues.

Once You’re In the Hospital

You will be asked to state and spell your name and birth date many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or similar names may be having surgery on the same day.

Get Dressed for Surgery

You will be given a hospital gown, robe, and non skid socks.

Meet With Your Nurse

Your nurse will meet with you before your surgery. Tell him or her the dose of any medications (including patches and creams) you took after midnight and the time you took them. Your nurse may place an intravenous (IV) line into a vein, usually in your arm or hand. The IV line will be used to give you fluids and anesthesia (medication to make you sleep) during your surgery.

Meet With Your Anesthesiologist

He or she will:

  • Review your medical history with you.
  • Talk with you about your comfort and safety during your surgery.
  • Talk with you about the kind of anesthesia you will receive.
  • Answer any questions you may have about your anesthesia.
Prepare for Surgery

Once your nurse has seen you, 1 or 2 visitors can keep you company as you wait for your surgery to begin. When it is time for your surgery, your visitor(s) will be shown to the waiting area.

You will walk into the operating room or you can be taken in on a stretcher. A member of the operating room team will help you onto the operating bed. Compression boots will be placed on your lower legs. These gently inflate and deflate to help circulation in your legs.You may also have a blood pressure cuff and EKG pads to monitor you during surgery. If you don’t already have an IV line, your anesthesiologist will place one into a vein.

Once you are fully asleep, a breathing tube will be placed through your mouth and into your windpipe to help you breathe. You will also have a urinary catheter placed to drain urine from your bladder.

During your surgery, plastic drainage tubes will be placed in the area of the replacement implant and will exit near your incision. These tubes will drain fluid from the surgical area to help reduce swelling. The drainage tubes may be stitched in place so they will not fall out. They are connected to a container that collects the drainage.

Once your surgery is finished, your incision will be closed with staples or with stitches. Steri-StripsTM (thin pieces of tape) will be placed directly on your incision and covered with a gauze dressing. Your breathing tube is usually taken out while you are still in the operating room.

Back to top

After Your Surgery

The information in this section will tell you what to expect after your surgery, both during your hospital stay and after you leave the hospital. You will learn how to safely recover from your surgery. Write down any questions you have and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.

What to Expect

When you wake up after your surgery, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). You will stay there until you are awake and your pain is under control. Most people return to their room after a few hours in the PACU, but some will need to stay in the PACU overnight for observation.

You will receive oxygen through a thin tube called a nasal cannula that rests below your nose. A nurse will be monitoring your body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.

You will have a pain pump called a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device. For more information, please read Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA).

You will have a Foley® catheter in your bladder to monitor the amount of urine you are making. You will also have compression boots on your lower legs to help your circulation. They will be taken off when you are able to walk.

After your stay in the PACU, you will be taken to your hospital room in the inpatient unit. There, your nurse will tell you how to recover from your surgery. Below are examples of ways you can help yourself recover safely.

  • Use your incentive spirometer. This will help your lungs expand, which prevents pneumonia. For more information, please read How to Use Your Incentive Spirometer.
  • Don’t sit with your legs dangling for more than 1 hour at a time. For each hour that you are sitting, standing, or walking, spend 1 hour lying down with your feet elevated above the level of your heart. This will also help you prevent blood clots.

You will receive a daily shot to thin your blood and prevent blood clots. You may have an ultrasound done before you leave the hospital. It tells us if you have developed a clot. We can then decide what blood thinners you should take when you go home. You will also get antibiotics in your IV to prevent infection.

Commonly Asked Questions: During Your Hospital Stay

Will I have pain after my surgery?

You will have some pain from your incisions after your surgery. Your doctor and nurse will ask you about your pain often. You will be given medication to manage your pain as needed. If your pain is not relieved, please tell your doctor or nurse. It is important to control your pain so you can cough, breathe deeply, use your incentive spirometer, and do your leg exercises.

How can I prevent constipation?

  • Go to the bathroom at the same time every day. Your body will get used to going at that time.
  • If you feel the urge to go, do not put it off. Try to use the bathroom 5 to 15 minutes after meals.
  • After breakfast is a good time to move your bowels because the reflexes in your colon are strongest then.
  • Drink 8, 8-ounce glasses (2 liters) of liquids daily, if you can. Drink water, juices, soups, ice cream shakes, and other drinks that do not have caffeine. Beverages with caffeine, such as coffee and soda, pull fluid out of the body.
  • Slowly increase the fiber in your diet to 25 to 35 grams per day. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cereals contain fiber. If you have an ostomy or have had recent bowel surgery, check with your doctor or nurse before making any changes in your diet.
  • Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat constipation. Start with 1 of the following over-the-counter medications first:
    • Docusate sodium (Colace®) 100 mg. Take _____ capsules _____ times a day. This is a stool softener that causes few side effects. Do not take it with mineral oil.
    • Polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX®) 17 grams daily.
    • Senna (Senokot®) 2 tablets at bedtime. This is a stimulant laxative, which can cause cramping.
  • If you haven’t had a bowel movement in 2 days, call your doctor or nurse.

Will I be able to eat?

Yes. Your diet is very important during your recovery because your body needs nutrients to heal. If you are having problems with your appetite, tell your nurse so that he or she can arrange for you to see a dietitian.

How long will I have the drains?

The drainage tubes usually remain in place for a few days after surgery. How long they remain in place depends on how much drainage you are having. Your nurse will measure the drainage 3 times a day. Your doctor decides when the amount is small enough to remove the drain.

The removal of these tubes is usually a quick procedure. It is done in your room and does not require pain medication. You may feel a stinging sensation, which lasts only a few minutes.

What exercises should I do while in the hospital?

You should do gentle leg exercises to promote good circulation and prevent blood clots. You can find them in the resource Exercises to Do While in the Hospital below. Do the exercises 10 times an hour while you are awake.

Will there be restrictions on my activities immediately after my surgery?

Yes. After your hip replacement surgery, you must follow special hip precautions for 3 to 6 months. The exact length of time may vary, so speak with your doctor about how long you must follow these precautions.

The precautions keep your prosthesis in place and prevent dislocation of your hip. Depending on the surgery that you had, these precautions may vary slightly. Your physical and occupational therapist will go over these precautions with you. Most people will need to follow the precautions below:

  1. Do not bend at the waist or hip more than 90 degrees.
  2. Do not cross your legs, while standing, sitting, or lying down.
  3. Do not rotate your operated leg inward (do not lie, sit, or stand with “pigeon-toes”)

If you have any additional or different precautions, your doctor and physical and occupational therapists will review these with you. During your stay in the hospital, your physical and occupational therapists will teach you how to move safely in and out of bed and how to complete your daily self-care tasks, such as getting dressed and going to the bathroom, while following these precautions. For more information, read Hip Precautions, below.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Most people are in the hospital for approximately one week after having a hip replacement.

How will I prepare to leave the hospital?

You will have a case manager who will help you with your discharge planning. Some people go to a short term rehabilitation center after discharge from the hospital. Others can go home directly. Everyone’s plan is different. Your medical team, physical therapist and occupational therapist, and case manager will work with you to determine the plan best for you. Your case manager can make arrangements for any equipment, nursing, or rehabilitation you will need after discharge.

Commonly Asked Questions: After You Leave the Hospital

How do I care for my incisions?

  • Your sutures will remain on your incision until your doctor removes them at your first visit after your surgery. You will need to care for your incision at home.
  • By the time you are ready to leave the hospital, your incision will have begun to heal.
  • You and your caregiver should look at your incision with your nurse before you leave the hospital so you know what it looks like.
  • If any fluid is draining from your incision or if the area around your incision turns red, call your surgeon.
  • Do not put any powder, lotion, or soap near your incision.
  • Do not get your incision wet.

Change your dressings every day and more often if they become wet with drainage. Use a sterile gauze to cover your incision.

If you go home with Steri-Strips on your incision, they will loosen and fall off by themselves. If they haven’t fallen off within 10 days, you can remove them.

When can I shower?

Until your sutures are removed, you should take sponge baths. Do not get your incision wet.

You can shower after your sutures are removed, which is usually 2 to 3 weeks after your surgery. Use soap when you shower and gently wash your incision. Pat the areas dry with a towel after showering, and leave your incision uncovered (unless there is drainage). Call your doctor if you see any redness or drainage from your incision.

Avoid baths, hot tubs, saunas, and swimming pools until your doctor or nurse tell you it’s okay.

What activity restrictions will I have after discharge from the hospital?

You must follow the special hip precautions for at least 3 months. This is to keep your prosthesis in place and to prevent the dislocation of your hip.

If you receive additional physical or occupational therapy after discharge from the hospital, your therapists will continue to teach you ways to move safely while building strength and promoting independence with walking and functional activities.

When is it safe for me to drive?

Do not drive while you are taking narcotic pain medications. Wait until your doctor tells you that it is safe.

When can I return to work?

The time it takes to return to work depends on the type of work you do, the type of surgery you had, and how fast your body heals. Ask your doctor when you are able to return to work.

When can I resume sexual activity?

Ask your doctor how soon after going home you may resume sexual activity. For most people, it will be 2 weeks after discharge.

The only limitations you will have are which positions you may use during sexual activity, in order to follow the hip precautions. You may be on the bottom or lie on your side. Keep 2 pillows between your knees to keep a space of 6 to 10 inches between them.

Try to plan your sexual activity for a time when you are the most comfortable. Some people find they feel better in the morning. Others feel stiff and sore at that time. Taking your pain medication about 45 minutes before the desired time may also be helpful.

Are there any other precautions that I must take?

If you are going to have any procedure that might cause bleeding, you must tell your doctor or dentist that you have a hip prosthesis. You should take an antibiotic. If any infection should develop in your body, it may infect your new hip joint. For more information, read the resource Preventing an Infection to the Area of Your Bone or Joint Replacement Prosthesis

Is it normal to feel tired after surgery?

Feeling tired (fatigue) is the most common complaint after a hip replacement. It is an expected side effect. You may need a nap during the day, but try to stay out of bed as much as possible. That will help you sleep at night. It usually takes 6 to 8 weeks until your energy level returns to normal.

When can I lift heavy objects or do vigorous exercise?

Do not do any vigorous exercise or heavy lifting until your doctor tells you that you can. You may need special instructions for exercise.

Are there services to help me adjust emotionally?

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be a very stressful and overwhelming event. You may feel depressed, anxious, confused, afraid, or angry. You may have strong feelings about any permanent changes. These changes can have an impact on your emotional well-being. Help is available for you at any time. If you would like counseling, your nurse can give you a referral to see a social worker, psychiatrist, or counselor.

When is my first appointment after surgery?

Your first appointment will be about 2 weeks after you are discharged from the hospital. Please call your doctor’s office as soon as possible after your discharge to make the appointment.

What if I have other questions?

If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with your doctor or nurse. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call 212-639-2000 and ask for the doctor on call for your doctor.

  • Numbness, tingling (pins and needles), or burning of your toes
  • Pain not relieved by medication or pain that is getting worse
  • Drainage or a foul odor from the site treated
  • Difficulty moving your toes
  • Increased swelling that is relieved when you elevate your hip that had the replacement
  • Toes that are very cold and not warmed by covering them
  • Increased redness around your incision
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A temperature greater than 100.4° F (38.0° C)
  • Any unexpected or unexplained problems
  • Any questions or concerns

Exercises to Do While in the Hospital

Ankle Pumps

Figure 1.
  1. Lie on your back with your head and shoulders supported on pillows. You can also do this exercise while sitting.
  2. Point your toes up toward your nose (see Figure 1). You can do this with both feet at the same time.
  3. Then, point them toward the floor.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Do this exercise every hour that you are awake.

Quadriceps sets

Figure 2.
  1. Lie on your back with your head and shoulders supported on pillows.
  2. Straighten your legs as much as you can.
  3. Push the backs of your knees down into the bed while tightening the muscles on the top of your thighs (see Figure 2).
  4. Hold the position and count out loud to 5.
  5. Relax.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

Do this exercise every hour that you are awake.

Gluteal sets

Figure 3.
  1. Lie on your back with your head and shoulders supported on pillows.
  2. Straighten your legs as much as you can.
  3. Squeeze your buttocks together tightly (see Figure 3).
  4. Hold the position and count out loud to 5.
  5. Relax your buttocks.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

Do this exercise every hour that you are awake.

Hip Precautions

Safe moving during everyday activities

You need to follow special hip precautions. Below are some ways that you can adjust your activities to make sure that you follow your precautions.

Stand with your toes pointing straight ahead, about 6 to 10 inches apart. Don’t stand with your toes pointing in or out (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

When you need to pick something up, use your reacher (see Figure 2). Don’t bend over.

Figure 2.

Move your upper and lower body as one unit. Make sure that your shoulders, hips, and knees are pointing in the same direction as your feet (see Figure 3). Don’t twist your body.

Figure 3.

Scoot to the edge and use the arms of your chair when rising from a chair (see Figure 4). Don’t bend forward to stand up.

Figure 4.

Sit on a raised toilet seat or on a firm cushion in a chair (see Figure 5). Don’t sit on low seats.

Figure 5.

Sit with your legs uncrossed (see Figure 6). Don’t cross your legs while sitting or lying down.

Figure 6.

Put on your slippers when you are standing (see Figure 7). Don’t lean down or over to the side to get your slippers from under the bed.

Figure 7.

Pull the blanket and sheets half way up before getting into bed (see Figure 8). Don’t lean forward to pull them up after getting into bed.

Figure 8.

Sleep with one pillow between your legs when lying on your back. Sleep with 2 pillows when lying on your unoperated side. You can also lie on your stomach as long as you turn toward your unoperated side, have a pillow between your legs, and your operative leg turns as a whole unit. Your foot, knee and hip should turn together (see Figure 9).

Figure 9.

Don’t sleep on your back or unoperated side without pillows between your legs. Don’t lie on your operated side until you have permission from your doctor.

Back to top


This section includes a list of MSK support services, as well as the resources that were referred to throughout this guide. These resources will help you prepare for your surgery and recover safely. Write down any questions you have and be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.

MSK Resources

Admitting Office

Call to discuss private room or luxury suite options. If you want to change your room choice after your PST visit, call 212-639-7873 or 212-639-7874.


Call with any questions about anesthesia.

Blood Donor Room

Call for more information if you are interested in donating blood or platelets.

Bobst International Center

MSK welcomes patients from around the world. If you are an international patient, call for help coordinating your care.

Chaplaincy Service

At MSK, our chaplains are available to listen, help support family members, pray, contact community clergy or faith groups, or simply be a comforting companion and a spiritual presence. Anyone can request spiritual support, regardless of formal religious affiliation. The interfaith chapel is located near the main lobby of Memorial Hospital, and is open 24 hours a day. If you have an emergency, please call the hospital operator and ask for the chaplain on call.

Counseling Center

Many people find counseling helpful. We provide counseling for individuals, couples, families, and groups, as well as medications to help if you feel anxious or depressed.

Integrative Medicine Service

Offers patients many services to complement traditional medical care, including music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy.

Look Good Feel Better Program

Learn techniques to help you feel better about your appearance by taking a workshop or visiting the program online at www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org.

Patient-to-Patient Support Program

You may find it comforting to speak with a cancer survivor or caregiver who has been through a similar treatment. Through our Patient-to-Patient Support Program, we are able to offer you a chance to speak with former patients and caregivers

Patient Billing

Call Patient Billing with any questions regarding preauthorization with your insurance company. This is also called preapproval.

Patient Representative Office

Call if you have any questions about the Health Care Proxy form or if you have any concerns about your care.

Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist

Call if you have any questions about MSK releasing any information while you are having surgery.

Private Duty Nursing Office

Patients may request private nurses or companions. Call for more information.

Rehabilitation Service

At MSK, we offer a variety of rehabilitation services, including occupational and physical therapy. Physical therapy can help you to move and function better and improve your overall fitness and health. Occupational therapy can help you regain and build skills to help you think more clearly and function independently with everyday tasks.

Resources for Life After Cancer (RLAC) Program

At MSK, care doesn’t end after active treatment. The RLAC Program is for patients and their families who have finished treatment. This program has many services, including seminars, workshops, support groups, counseling on life after treatment, and help with insurance and employment issues.

Social Work

Social workers help patients, family, and friends deal with issues that are common for cancer patients. They provide individual counseling and support groups throughout the course of treatment, and can help you communicate with children and other family members. Our social workers can also help referring you to community agencies and programs, as well as financial resources if you’re eligible.

Tobacco Treatment Program

If you want to quit smoking, MSK has specialists who can help. Call for more information. For additional online information, visit LIBGUIDES on MSK’s library website at http://library.mskcc.org. You can also contact the library reference staff at 212-639-7439 for help.

External Resources


In New York City, the MTA offers a shared ride, door-to-door service for people with disabilities who are unable to take the public bus or subway.

Air Charity Network

Provides travel to treatment centers.

American Cancer Society (ACS)

Offers a variety of information and services, including Hope Lodge, a free place for patients and caregivers to stay during cancer treatment.

Cancer and Careers

A comprehensive resource for education, tools, and events for employees with cancer.



275 Seventh Avenue (Between 25th & 26th Streets)
New York, NY 10001

Provides counseling, support groups, educational workshops, publications, and financial assistance.

Cancer Support Community

Provides support and education to people affected by cancer.

Caregiver Action Network

Provides education and support for those who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability.

Corporate Angel Network

Free travel to treatment across the country using empty seats on corporate jets.


Provides reproductive information and support to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments have risks associated with infertility.

Gilda’s Club

A place where men, women, and children living with cancer find social and emotional support through networking, workshops, lectures, and social activities.

Good Days

Offers financial assistance to pay for copayments during treatment. Patients must have medical insurance, meet the income criteria, and be prescribed medication that is part of the Good Days formulary.

Healthwell Foundation

Provides financial assistance to cover copayments, health care premiums, and deductibles for certain medications and therapies.

Joe’s House

Provides a list of places to stay near treatment centers for people with cancer and their families.

LGBT Cancer Project

Provides support and advocacy for the LGBT community, including an online support groups and a database of LGBT friendly clinical trials.

National Cancer Institute
National Cancer Legal Services Network

Free cancer legal advocacy program.

National LGBT Cancer Network

Provides education, training, and advocacy for LGBT cancer survivors and those at risk.

Needy Meds

Lists Patient Assistance Programs for brand and generic name medications.


Provides prescription benefits to eligible employees and retirees of public sector employers in New York State.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Help qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get free or low-cost medications.

Patient Access Network Foundation

Provides assistance with copayments for patients with insurance.

Patient Advocate Foundation

Provides access to care, financial assistance, insurance assistance, job retention assistance, and access to the national underinsured resource directory.


Provides assistance to help people obtain medications that they have trouble affording.

Additional Resources

Back to top

Last Updated