Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery

Leaders in Orthopaedic Surgery

Preparing for joint replacement surgery can be an overwhelming process for patients, but the better the preparation, the faster the recovery.

It is essential to assign a coach to support you before and after your surgery. It can be either a family member or a friend. The chosen coach will help by:

  • Going with you to the hospital for pre-surgery appointments, as well as on the day of surgery.
  • Taking you home after surgery.
  • Assisting you through post-surgery appointments.
  • Helping around the house, with getting dressed, preparing meals, and moving around.

Planning ahead of surgery will lower stress and help focus your attention on your recovery, so it is vital to understand what you can do in advance.

8 to 10 Weeks Before Surgery

  • Call your primary care doctor and make an appointment for your preoperative medical exam.
  • Inform your cardiologist about the joint surgery if you have any heart conditions.
  • Finalize any necessary dental work.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco.
  • Maintain a balanced diet.

4 Weeks Before Surgery

  • Complete your pre-op medical evaluation.
  • Bring a list of ALL medications you take to your pre-op medical evaluation appointment. Be sure to include prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and food supplements. Please include the dose and frequency. This is important because your doctor will tell you which medications are safe to take before your surgery and which ones to stop.
  • Plan with your coach and ensure the care of your pets, children, and/or elderly people while you are recovering.

1 to 2 Weeks Before Surgery

Prepare your home for recovery:

  • Prepare your bed by having clean sheets ready and extra pillows for comfort.
  • Prepare your bathroom by putting toiletries within reach and removing bathmats.
  • Prepare your chairs by choosing ones with arms and position pillows on low seats.
  • Move throw rugs and electrical cords out of the way.
  • Have an apron or belt pack to hold items like your phone.
  • Have someone stay with you for at least two nights after surgery.
  • Arrange for child care, elder care, pet care.
  • Arrange for help with heavy chores.
  • Place frequently used items within reach.
  • Buy extra groceries and stock up on necessities.
  • Try individual-size beverages and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Have books, projects, videos, TV shows ready that you have put off for a rainy day.
  • Make sure to place within reach all indispensable items.
  • Get CHG soap from your surgeon's office or local pharmacy.
  • Make sure your chosen coach is available to take you home afterward and help with household supplies and domestic work.
  • Buy extra groceries and stock up on necessities.

The Day Before Surgery

  • Follow your surgeon’s instructions on when to stop drinking or eating anything before surgery to avoid a delayed or canceled surgery.
  • Avoid alcohol the day or night before surgery.
  • Make sure to pick up any new prescriptions from the pharmacy and leave them at home.
  • Shower with CHG soap the night before or the morning of the surgery.
  • Relax and rest properly.

The Day of Surgery

  • Arrive at the hospital at your given time to meet your care team and prepare for surgery. A member of our medical team will get you to a pre-waiting room before moving into the operating room. We will give you an ID wristband, helping us keep you safe.
  • After you change into a hospital gown, we will give the bag with your belongings to your family members or you when going to the recovery room.
  • A nurse will check the accuracy of your medical record and assess your vital signs before performing a short physical exam or any extra necessary tests.
  • An intravenous tube (IV) will be placed in a vein in your arm or hand for fluids and medications.
  • Your surgeon will make sure that everybody agrees about the type of surgery you are having and mark the surgery site in pen.
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What Should You Bring to the Hospital?

  • Comfortable clothing that is easy to put on (e.g., bathrobe, sweatpants, pajamas)
  • Nonskid shoes
  • Insurance card and ID
  • Glasses/hearing aids/dentures
  • Cellphone and charger

The less you bring, THE BETTER.

Your belongings can either stay with your coach or family during your surgery, or they will be stored safely and returned to you after surgery. Please do not bring any prescriptions that you have filled prior to surgery with you to the hospital.

Medications should be left at home unless you have a nonformulary medication that needs to be taken every day—then you may bring it. We will either keep it safe at our pharmacy or send it home with your coach, depending on if we have the medication available in our facility. Otherwise, our pharmacy will supply you with the medications you need.

Our Patients Usually Ask These Questions About Preparing for the Surgery

After waking up from the anesthesia and throughout your hospital stay, you will be administered drugs that will help reduce pain and further complications. You will also receive a prescription for any necessary medications indicated by your doctor.

The treatment is aimed at minimizing swelling or bruising managing pain or discomfort and avoiding blood clots.

Patients are expected to make gradual postoperative progress in their walking abilities. This usually happens several hours after the surgery.

The first step towards recovery is the support of a walking aid. It begins in the hospital, right after the surgery, when most patients start using a walker. At home, you will continue using it or opt for crutches or a cane instead. Being able to walk on your own could take up to six weeks.

The surgical reactions are diverse, and every patient heals differently. Having a scar is normal, but its particularities stand in the distinct way everyone’s skin heals.

Getting back to your normal activities in full condition depends on various factors, but complete recovery can go up to a year.

Driving implies being free of pain medication effects, as they can slow down your reaction time. Generally, you will resume driving within four weeks after surgery, following your doctor’s approval.

The preventive measures after surgery require avoiding any sudden, damaging movements. When you feel ready to start having sex again, make sure not to apply pressure on your new joint and let your partner take care of the work until you heal.