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.
Once your surgery is finalized, and you are prepared to leave the recovery room, we 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.
In the recovery room, you will be stabilized and taken care of until you are awake and able to talk, 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.
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-operative issues requires:
Going Home from the Hospital
You will be able to go home safely once you can walk and do your exercises, and your surgeon says you are ready. Before leaving, your case manager will make sure that your discharge plan is adequate and you are instructed in-home care, having everything you need to heal at home.
You need to be aware of when to take your medications, shower, and how to take care of your incision site.
Suppose you no longer need hospital care, but it isn't safe for you to go home. In that case, your joint surgery ambulatory care manager will collaborate with your surgeon and hospital case manager to find you a proper recovery place (a skilled nursing facility). In there, you might stay for two to five days before returning home.
Pain Medications and Follow-up Prescriptions
You will receive a list of pain medications before leaving the hospital and be instructed on how to take them. If the prescriptions need to be filled, your care team can order and bring them to your room in advance.
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 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-operative visit with your surgeon.
While swelling is normal after surgery, you can keep it down by putting ice packs on the swollen area. However, make sure not to put the ice pack on your bare skin
Recovering at Home
Your case manager will call you at home 24 to 48 hours after leaving the hospital, asking how you feel and answering any questions, and making sure that you have all the prescribed medications and made the follow-up appointment with your surgeon.
If you are a HealthLoop member, you will receive email reminders from your doctor about your follow-up care for up to 17 days after leaving the hospital.
Post-surgery physical therapy is essential for healing, taking about three to six weeks to recover your strength. Feeling weak and tired is normal, so do not rush the healing process by going back to work or starting your regular activities too early.
Some of the types of exercises done in physical therapy are:
Make sure not to sit for more than two to three hours, 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.