Joint Replacement surgery is one of the most successful procedures used for relief of pain, gaining a range of motion, and improving the ability to walk, for a variety of painful joint disorders.
Understand the procedure
Learn what to expect before, during, and after surgery. Ask about the process of being admitted to the hospital, the type of anesthesia you might need, the type of implant that will be used, the length of stay in the hospital, rehabilitation, and pain management. The more you know, the better you will be able to face the challenges and changes that joint replacement surgery will make in your life. Don’t ever hesitate to ask questions, voice concerns, or speak up when you do not understand.
Learn what to expect before, during, and after surgery. Your questions may include:
- What is the process for being admitted to the hospital?
- What type of anesthesia will I receive?
- What type of implant or prosthesis will be used?
- How long will I stay in the hospital?
- How long will my recovery take?
- How will my pain be managed after surgery?
Assemble your personal and medical information
During the weeks before your surgery, check about your insurance coverage, medical history, and legal arrangements. You may feel that you are answering the same questions over and over again, but this redundancy is necessary to meet quality assurance and medical insurance guidelines. If you have everything written down, you can reduce your frustration and speed up the process. Be sure to include the following information:
- A designated family member or friend as your primary contact to receive information from the operating team and disseminate it to other family members and friends.
- A list of all the doctors you currently see and your reasons for seeing them. Provide names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- A list of medical conditions and all previous operations, including those that are not bone-and-joint operations.
- A list of all the medications you currently take on a regular basis. Copy the name of the medication, the dosage, and the frequency (daily, twice a day, etc). Don’t forget to include vitamin and mineral supplements or other over-the-counter medications you take regularly. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications or supplements a week or two before your surgery.
- A list of any allergies or adverse reactions you’ve had to drugs or anesthesia in the past. Provide the name of the drug, why you were taking it, a description of your reaction, and when this happened.
- Any dietary restrictions or other health problems you have, such as diabetes, asthma, HIV, or hepatitis.
- If you smoke, cut down or quit. Smoking affects blood circulation, delays healing, slows recovery, and may increase the risk of infection.
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. If you are overweight, there will be more stress placed on your new joint. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a weight loss program before surgery.
- If you drink, do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery.
- Length of stay – plan to be in hospital for 3 to 4 days.
- Discharge planning – The goal is to return home directly from the hospital, but you may want to arrange for help at home with physiotherapy or activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, cooking, and shopping, while you are recuperating.
- Complications – as with any surgery, there is a possibility of complications such as blood clots, infection, and lung congestion. Be sure to review these risks with your surgeon prior to surgery.
Discuss with the operating team about the timeline for returning to a higher level of daily activities, including working, driving, and more vigorous exercise or mild sports.