St. Joseph Health System
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What to expect during your orthopedic surgery experience

Not to worry, we’ll walk with you every step of the way.

Maybe you’ve been putting off orthopedic surgery because of the unknowns involved. You have reservations. Doubts and concerns. And questions…

  • How long will your activity be limited?
  • How much will this cost out-of-pocket?
  • How can I find an orthopedic doctor I can trust?

We understand that before you move ahead with surgery, you want an orthopedic surgeon you can trust. And you want to know exactly what to expect. We’ve developed Joint University, a comprehensive program for our patients, to provide the education, support, encouragement, and resources that allow you to know exactly what you’re heading into, and how to get back to life pain-free. You’ll appreciate the detailed information in the class and the patient notebook given at Joint University.

“The way they helped me prepare for surgery was excellent. It was very, very good. I appreciated going into the surgery so well-informed.”
~Carol Whiting, St. Joseph Orthopedic Patient

Preparing for orthopedic surgery.

Here’s an overview of recommendations for before, during, and after your joint replacement surgery. It is not intended to take the place of any instructions provided by your orthopedic doctor. We encourage you to discuss this information with your orthopedic surgeon.

Questions you may want to ask your orthopedic doctor.

We suggest that you print out a list of questions and take it with you the next time you meet with your orthopedic surgeon. Add questions as they enter your mind. As your orthopedic surgeon gives you instructions on how to prepare for orthopedic surgery, take notes so you can refer to them once you are home.

Four weeks before surgery

  • Become familiar with your joint anatomy. You may find it helpful to understand your joint anatomy and read answers to common questions prior to orthopedic surgery. See: Joint University Guidebook for Hips, and Joint University Guidebook for Knees.
  • Pre-register for Joint University pre-op class at St Joseph Orthopedic Hospital.

Three weeks before surgery

  • Store frequently used items (cleaning supplies, canned foods, toiletries, etc.) in easy to reach locations. Avoid very high or very low shelves that would require you to kneel or use a step stool.
  • Make and freeze meals, or stock up on frozen dinners before your orthopedic surgery, so that meal preparation is easier and requires less effort. You should plan on making enough meals for up to two weeks.
  • Contact friends and family for support. You may need help with activities such as driving, shopping, and moving items in your home. The Arthritis Foundation also has a support network that can provide emotional support. You can contact your local chapter or go to the Arthritis Foundation website (www.arthritis.org) for more information.
  • Check the safety of your home to prevent falls or tripping. Move long electrical and telephone cords against the wall, remove rugs, and place a non-skid mat in your bathtub. You may want to prepare a bed in the downstairs level of your home to reduce stair climbing. Have an elevated chair or high seated chair with arms in every room, if possible.

Two weeks before surgery

  • Avoid anti-inflammatory medications. Your orthopedic doctor may not want you to take any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.) for the 10-14 days before surgery. You may be able to take Tylenol or medicines with acetaminophen. Be sure to discuss this with your orthopedic surgeon.
  • Purchase or borrow the special equipment your orthopedic surgeon recommends. This may include a front wheel rolling walker, an elevated bedside commode, and small devices such as a grabber. You can find these items at most hospital supply sections of large drug stores or the internet. Practice using the items at home before your orthopedic surgery.

One week before surgery

  • Avoid anti-inflammatory medications. Keep in mind that your orthopedic doctor may not want you to take any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.) for the 10-14 days before surgery. You may be able to take Tylenol or medicines with acetaminophen. Be sure to discuss this with your orthopedic surgeon.
  • Write down the names of all of the medications you take, doses, and how often you take them. You will want to take this list with you when you pre-admit at the hospital.
  • Check with your Joint Coordinator (979) 776-2978 to see if an appointment is necessary for pre-admission.
  • Pre-admit at St Joseph Orthopedic Hospital - Your orthopedic surgeon may suggest that you pre-admit to the hospital three to nine days before your orthopedic surgery. Your insurance will be verified and, depending upon your surgeon's instructions, you may need to complete lab work, x-rays, and an EKG. It’s advisable to plan at least 4 1/2 hours to complete the visit. It is not necessary to donate blood ahead of time before your orthopedic surgery.
  • You may also want to see someone from the anesthesia department to discuss anesthetic procedures.
  • Manage finances. You may want to balance your checkbook, pay bills, make arrangements to board pets, and stop the delivery of your newspaper or mail.
  • Contact local supermarkets and pharmacies. Some supermarkets and pharmacies provide delivery services to your home.

Week of surgery

  • Avoid anti-inflammatory medications. Keep in mind that your orthopedic doctor may not want you to take any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.) for the 10-14 days before surgery. You may be able to take Tylenol or medicines with acetaminophen. Be sure to discuss this with your orthopedic surgeon.
  • Pack for the hospital.

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