St. Joseph Health System
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What to Expect

What to Expect

Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery
This information is intended to be an overview of activities that you may experience during joint replacement surgery. It is not intended to replace any instructions provided by your physician, and we would encourage you to discuss this information with your physician.

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. See: Joint University Guidebook for Hips, Joint University Guidebook for Knees

Questions you may want to ask your doctor. Print out this list of questions and take it with you to an upcoming appointment. As your surgeon gives you instructions on how to prepare for surgery, take notes and refer to them once you are home. Questions to Ask

Three Weeks Before Surgery
Store frequently used items in easy to reach cabinets, such as cleaning supplies and canned foods. Avoid very high or very low shelves as these may require you to use a step stool or kneel.

Make and freeze meals or stock up on frozen dinners before surgery so that meal preparation is easier and requires less effort. You may want to make a list of items you will need to prepare meals and go to the supermarket. You should plan on making enough meals for one to two week or so.

Contact friends/family for support. Friends/family may be needed to assist with activities such as driving and moving items in your home for safety. 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 web site ( 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 you home to reduce climbing stairs. Have an elevated chair or high seated chair with arms in every room if possible.

Two Weeks Before Surgery
Anti-inflammatory medications. Your physician 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 physician.

Purchase or borrow the special equipment your physician recommends. This may include a front wheel rolling walker an elevated bedside commode and small devices such as a grabber and reacher. You can find these items at most hospital supply sections of large drug stores or in mail order catalogs from department stores. Practice using the items at home.

One Week Before Surgery
Anti-inflammatory medications. Keep in mind that your physician may not want you to take any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.) for the 14 days before surgery. You may be able to take Tylenol or medicines with acetaminophen. Be sure to discuss this with your physician.

Write down all of the medication you take, the dose, and how often. You will want to take this with you when you pre-admit at the hospital.

Pre-register for Joint University pre-op class at St Joseph Surgery Center. Your surgeon may suggest that you pre-admit to the hospital typically three to nine days before your surgery usually on a Tuesday. Your insurance will be verified and depending upon your surgeon's instructions, you may have lab work, x-rays, and an EKG. You may want to plan at least 4 1/2 hours to complete the visit. Check with your Joint Coordinator (979) 776-2978 to see if an appointment is necessary. Bring a list of the medicines you are currently taking; this includes the name(s) of the medicine, the dose(s), and how often you take the medication. It is not necessary to donate blood ahead of time before your surgery. You may also see someone from the anesthesia department to discuss anesthetic.

Manage finances. You may want to balance your checkbook, pay bills, make arrangements to board pets, and stop the delivery of your newspaper. If you are going to a rehabilitation facility after being discharged from the hospital, you can ask your local post office to hold your mail until you return home.

Contact local supermarkets and pharmacies. Some supermarkets and pharmacies provide delivery services to your home. This may make mobility after surgery more convenient. Call supermarkets and pharmacies to see if they provide delivery services and if they charge a fee.

Go to the supermarket. Make a list of the items you may need once you return from the hospital and purchase these items or arrange for the supermarket to deliver these to your home. If you are going to a rehabilitation facility after your hospital discharge, you will need to make arrangements for someone to drive you to the supermarket or do your shopping for you.

Week of Surgery
Anti-inflammatory medications. Keep in mind that your physician 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 physician.

What to bring to the hospital. Below is a list of things you may want to bring with you to the hospital in preparation for your surgery. Talk with your physician as he/she may have additional information about preparing for your hospital stay.

Your personal belongings should be left in the car until after surgery. Tell your family that your room will be assigned when you are in surgery or in recovery, at which point they can bring your personal items to your room.
Personal grooming items that you may want to pack include a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, eyeglasses/contacts, comb, deodorant, shaving cream/electric razor, shampoo, lotion, undergarments, and a robe.
Bring non skid slipper socks or flat rubber-soled shoes for walking in the hallways.
Bring shorts and T-shirts for working out in the Joint University gym
Bring loose fitting clothing for your trip home.
Bring any medications you are currently taking. You should also write down your medication information to be given to the hospital staff. Be sure to include the name, strength, and how often you take the medication. Please communicate any allergies you might have to your doctors and the nursing staff.
If you use a breathing exerciser (IBE), be sure to bring it with you from home, as you will probably need this right after surgery. Check with your physician about this.
Leave jewelry, credit cards, car and house keys, checkbooks, and items of personal value at home. Bring only enough pocket money for items such as newspapers, magazines, etc.
Eating or drinking after midnight may or may not be allowed by your surgeon (not even water) the night before your surgery. Check with your physician about this. Your anesthesiologist may prescribe a medication for you to take the evening before surgery.

Arrival at the hospital. You should report to the hospital at least two hours before your scheduled surgery. The nurses will complete your preparation for surgery and will likely review your care following surgery.

About your surgery. You may want to read an overview of your procedure. How you will feel after surgery. Be sure to ask your physician how you may feel after surgery. You may be nauseous, dizzy, weak, loss of appetite, and have constipation. You will probably experience a level of pain, and patients usually have marked improvement in a few days after surgery.

First meal after surgery will likely be ice chips and clear liquids and will progress to solid foods as tolerated. Check with your physician about your first meal.

Self-care after surgery. A catheter may be in place after surgery. It is normally removed when you can get out of bed to the bedside commode or restroom and, you can feed yourself, and can bathe your face and upper body. Your bandage will probably be changed once or twice a day.

Visitors after surgery. Typically you are allowed visitors once you have been moved from the recovery room and into your own room. If you would prefer not to have visitors, please tell the nursing staff so they can communicate this to potential visitors.

Your hospital stay. Your surgeon will visit you and your physical therapist will begin post-op exercises. Your pain may be managed typically with either an epidural, femoral nerve block or PCA.

Self-care. A bedside commode will be available until you are able to walk to the restroom. Walking to the restroom will build your strength and prepare you for discharge home. You can bathe yourself with a little help around your surgery area.

Discharge from the hospital. You will be discharged from the hospital when your physician feels the time is right, this is typically three to four days after surgery. You will need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home from the hospital, as you will not be able to operate an automobile. You will also want to wear comfortable, loose clothing to avoid pressure on the incision area. Your therapist will review how to get in and out of a car.

Transfer to a rehabilitation facility. Depending on your situation, your physician may recommend that you be transferred to a rehabilitation facility after you are discharged from the hospital. You may be there a few days so you can begin physical therapy and your health can be monitored.

Fill pain medication prescription. Your surgeon will give you a prescription for pain medication. You will probably need less each day but you may need them at night for a few days. Check with your physician. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while you are taking pain medication. Some people find that Tylenol  will relieve their pain. A local pharmacy may deliver these to your home.

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