Recovering from Joint Replacement SurgeryLeaders in Orthopaedic Surgery
Knowing what to expect after surgery can turn out to be a considerable help for a smoother recovery. Use our patient guide to help you understand your recovery from a joint replacement procedure.
In the recovery room, you will be stabilized and taken care of until you are awake, able to talk and you are displaying proper bodily functions. You may have a bandage covering your surgical site, a tube draining the fluid away from the incision, or a drain in your bladder (a catheter) that will be taken out soon after surgery.
Once your surgery is complete, and you are prepared to leave the recovery room, your care team will:
Feeling pain after surgery and while healing is expected. Let us know if your medication is not helping, so we can try other ways to treat your pain without generating any addiction.
What to Expect During Recovery
All our efforts will be directed at making sure that you have a successful surgery and recovery. Helping you heal faster and avert any post-op issues requires:
Going Home from the Hospital
Pain Medications and Follow-up Prescriptions
If you received your prescriptions before surgery, be sure to have them filled before having surgery.
Pain medications can induce constipation, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods to prevent this problem.
When to Call Your Surgeon
Bruising, swelling, pain, and skin discoloration are normal, but if you experience any of the symptoms below, you should call your surgeon:
You need to dial 911 or head to the nearest emergency room if you experience:
Incision Care and Hygiene
Your surgeon will make sure that you know the best bandage for your incisions and how to care for them as they heal. Until you heal, it is vital to keep your dressing and incisions clean and dry. Your care specialist will let you know when it is safe to take a shower.
If your incisions were closed with staples, they would be removed during your post-op visit with your surgeon.
While swelling is expected after surgery, you can keep it down by putting ice packs on the swollen area. It will increase the first 10 to 14 days post-op before beginning to resolve. However, make sure not to put the ice pack on your bare skin.
Bruising is common—especially behind the thigh and/or lower leg. Please do not be alarmed by this.
It will be at its worst two weeks after surgery and it will then resolve with time. It can take over one month for swelling or bruising to resolve completely. You may elevate your legs and use ice packs. Continue to do your assigned exercises to keep the circulation going.
Post-surgery physical therapy is essential for healing, taking about three to six weeks to recover your strength. Your surgeon will inform you of the recommended physical therapy regimen.
Feeling weak and tired is normal, so get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Keep in mind, your goal is to return to your normal activity level, so movement/activities are just as important as rest.
Under your surgeon’s discretion, these are the types of activities that you can do at home:
Make sure not to sit for more than one to two hours at a time, as it is not beneficial for your joints.
Dental Work After Surgery
Prevent infection by avoiding any dental work for at least three months after surgery. Talk to your treating doctor and your dentist before deciding to take any antibiotics before dental procedures, like teeth cleaning, root canals and tooth removal.
Our Patients Usually Ask These Questions After Surgery
Blood clots can develop on either leg, even the one that did not undergo surgery. They can be dangerous and cause severe medical conditions.
Common symptoms depend on the size of the clot and include:
- Increasing pain, tenderness, or cramps in one or both legs
- Swelling or lumps in either leg
- Warm skin or red discoloration at the surgical site
Call your surgeon immediately if you fear you may have a blood clot.
You need to get in touch right away with your primary care provider if you experience an upset stomach or vomiting, constipation, or any of the following issues when urinating:
- Burning sensation
- Urgency (rushing to the bathroom)
- Frequency (going to the bathroom more than usual)