Preparing For Surgery

If surgery is recommended, you will meet with the clinical staff or receive a phone call from the clinical staff to schedule a date for your surgery. A packet of information will be provided to you to help you prepare for your surgery. Please review this information.

Prior to your surgery:

  • You will need to complete the following items within 30 days of your surgery.
    • A pre-surgical medical examination by your primary care physician. An additional appointment with your cardiologist or specialist may also be necessary prior to your surgery.
    • Blood work and an EKG
    • Pre-surgery Joint Replacement Class. The hospital provides an educational class to learn more about your surgery, hospital stay if one is needed, and recovery.  If you have not attended a class in the past 2 years, we require that you attend a class prior to your surgery.
  • If you are taking any aspirin products, anti-inflammatory medication, herbal medications, or any other medications that increase your risk of bleeding, you will need to stop these prior to your surgery to minimize bleeding. Check with your surgeon as to when you need to stop these medications.
  • If you smoke, it is recommended that you stop smoking to decrease your risk of problems after surgery. Most surgeons will not operate if you are currently smoking and you may be tested 1 week prior to surgery to check.
  • Notify the office immediately if you develop any infections or fevers. Surgery will not be performed if you have an infection or are ill.
  • If you need to cancel your surgery for any reason, please call the office as soon as possible.

Preparing for Your Return Home:

  • Arrange for help at home. It is recommended that you have a family member or friend available for at least the first 24-48 hours  you are home. You will need help with grocery shopping, errands, house cleaning, and driving.
  • Pick up clutter – remove throw rugs and tape down electrical cords.
  • Determine a chair with a firm seat and arms that you will be comfortable sitting in following surgery.
  • Remember, Total Joint surgery patients frequently go home the same day of surgery.

Day of Surgery:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before or the morning of your surgery.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to the hospital.
  • Leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
  • The hospital will have already notified you one to two days prior to your surgery what time you should arrive as well as what time your surgery is scheduled.
  • When you arrive at the hospital the day of your surgery, the hospital staff will prepare you for surgery. The anesthesiologist and your physician will talk to you before the surgery and answer any questions you may have. Your physician will see you again after the surgery in the recovery room.

Hospital Stay:

  • Therapy will work with you while you are at the hospital, teaching you the proper way to get in and out of a bed, chair, etc. They will also show you the exercises you should be doing on a daily basis as well as reviewing your precautions with you and whether you need to stay overnight or go home following surgery.
  • A discharge planner from the hospital may meet with you to assist with planning any additional help you may need at home.
    • Home Care – Nursing visits, Physical Therapy
    • Special equipment
      • Raised toilet seat
      • Shower seat
      • Grabbing/Reaching device to pick things up off from the floor or assist you with dressing.

Recovery at Home:

  • A special dressing will be placed over your incision and should remain in place for 7 days following surgery, unless otherwise specified by your surgeon.  Following this, many patients are more comfortable with a light dressing over their incision if staples are used to close the incision.
  • It is important to elevate your leg following surgery to help reduce swelling. The foot should not hang down for more than 5-10 minutes per hour for the first week after surgery. Elevate your leg on a pillow or a wedge that may be supplied by the hospital.
  • Things to watch for and call the office immediately if they should develop:
    • Signs and Symptoms that could indicate an infection:
      • Fever greater than 100.5
      • Redness along your incision line
      • Drainage from your incision or a foul odor from your incision.
    • Signs and Symptoms that could indicate a Blood Clot
      • The symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie Horse” in your calf, but the difference will be that your leg may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm. If you experience these symptoms, call the office immediately.
      • Blood clots can travel to the lung causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be life threatening. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately.
        • Sudden shortness of breath
        • Chest pain – sharp, stabbing pain that may become worse with taking a deep breath
        • Rapid heart rate
        • Unexplained cough that may have blood in the sputum.
  • You should have a follow up appointment scheduled in the office for approximately two weeks following your surgery. Call the office if you need to schedule this appointment.
  • Formal outpatient therapy may be arranged at your follow up visit.
  • It is important that you pre-medicate with antibiotics prior to any dental work to prevent microorganisms from spreading to your new joint.  We recommend the use of oral antibiotics one hour before dental work for your lifetime. Your surgeon’s office will fill the antibiotics. Please call at least 48 hours in advance.

The new joint replacement may trigger metal detections devices required for security in airports and in some buildings. You may ask your surgeon for a note confirming your joint replacement.