Call (855) 796-0593 today to learn more about Orthopedic Services and to schedule your appointment.

The Day Before Surgery

You should receive a call from the hospital to confirm your procedure and the time you need to arrive at the hospital. If you do not receive a call by 5:00 p.m. the day before surgery, please call 801-268-7119. For Monday surgery, call Friday afternoon. You will be told which medications to take the morning of surgery with a small sip of water.

Do

  • Remove nail polish.
  • Shower and wash your hair the night before. Bathing helps reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin and may lessen the risk of infection after surgery. Use the antibacterial soap provided and follow the instructions.
  • Sleep in clean pajamas or clothes.
  • Sleep on freshly laundered linens.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – it’s important to be well-rested before surgery.

Do Not

  • Do NOT eat or drink anything after the time you were instructed; ice chips, gum, or mints are NOT allowed.
  • Do NOT use lotions or powders.
  • Do NOT shave before surgery.

The Day of Surgery

On the day of surgery, you must remember several important things:

  • Take only the medications you have been told to take; take them with a small sip of water.
  • Comply with the strict instructions about food / beverage consumption.
  • Do not wear make-up or jewelry.
  • Do not take insulin unless otherwise instructed.
  • Do not take your oral diabetes medication (pills) on the morning of your surgery.

When You Arrive

  • You will be asked to empty your bladder.
  • Any glasses, contacts, hearing aids, or dentures will be removed before surgery and returned after surgery.
  • Advanced directives will be noted at the time of registration.
  • You will have your vital signs checked (Vital signs are your heart beat rate (pulse), breathing rate, body temperature, and blood pressure).
  • An intravenous (IV) line will be started to give you fluids and medication.

Anesthesia

The anesthesiologist will talk with you about the types of anesthesia used during surgery.

General Anesthesia puts you to sleep following an injection of medications into your IV. You will not feel pain and will be completely asleep throughout your surgery.

Regional Anesthesia numbs a part of your body with an injection of local anesthetic. For total joint replacement surgery of the knee and hip, regional anesthesia may involve injections into your back or around the nerves in your leg or hip. You may be awake but will not feel any pain.

Remember to tell the anesthesiologist if you prefer to be asleep or want to stay awake. It is your choice.

The Surgery

Your surgery takes about one to three hours to complete. While you are in the operating room, your loved ones may wait in the surgical waiting room. The surgeon or representative will speak with your family while you are recovering.

Right After Surgery

You will recover in the Post-Anesthesia Unit (PACU) and be cared for by a nurse before being taken to your hospital room. The average time in this unit is about two hours.

While here:

  • Your vital signs will be checked.
  • You will be asked questions to determine if anesthesia is wearing off.
  • Your pain medications will be started.
  • You will be warmed with blankets if you are cold.
  • You will be given oxygen to help you breathe (if needed).
  • You will wear compression sleeves on your lower legs to help prevent blood clots.
  • Your surgical site will be wrapped with a cold pack to reduce swelling and pain.
  • You might have a urinary catheter placed to empty your bladder.

Your Hospital Stay

After your stay in the PACU, you will be moved to a nursing unit that specializes in the care of patients with joint replacements. Some patients, for various other reasons, are moved to another nursing unit.

It is normal to drift in and out of sleep until the anesthesia completely wears off.

While in your hospital room, your nurse will:

  • Monitor your vital signs frequently.
  • Check your incision.
  • Give IV fluids and antibiotics.
  • Check your urinary catheter (if one is present).
  • Check your oxygen level.
  • Help you use an incentive spirometer (this breathing device helps keep your lungs clear and helps prevent pneumonia).
  • Check your compression devices (special stockings) that help prevent blood clots.
  • Assess blood clot prevention, administer blood-thinning drugs, and assist with getting out of bed and starting to walk.

REMEMBER: Do not get out of your bed without assistance. Although getting up on the day of surgery aids in your recovery and helps prevent complications. You MUST not do so without assistance.

Within 24 hours after arriving to your hospital room you will receive a visit from a physical and/or occupational therapist to begin mobility exercises. You may also receive a visit from:

  • Your surgeon or physician’s assistant
  • A medical doctor
  • An anesthesiologist
  • The Nurse Navigator

A physical therapist or nurse will help with bedside activities. Also, remember to perform the circulation exercises at the end of this guide.

Recovery/Rehabilitation Process

Physical therapy and occupational therapy after your joint replacement surgery are critical parts of your recovery, as well as to help you regain range of motion and strength. Although you may feel significant pain during and after your therapy sessions, it is necessary for your recovery.

Your physical therapist will teach you how to:

  • Lay in your bed in comfortable positions.
  • Move from sitting to standing.
  • Walk with an assistive device (a walker, crutches, a cane).
  • Comply with hip and knee precautions.
  • Perform a home exercise program on your own.
  • Walk up and down stairs with an appropriate assistive device.

Your occupational therapist will teach you how to:

  • Comply with hip or knee precautions while performing functional activities.
  • Perform transfer techniques, such as getting on and off toilet seat with and without assistance or getting into and out of a car.
  • Perform self-care activities, such as dressing with adaptive equipment and assistance if needed.

See Adaptive or Durable Medical Equipment section

Final Outcome

A full recovery from hip and knee replacement can take up to 18 months from surgery. Be patient with your progress and diligent with your therapy. Even after full recovery it is not uncommon to have some pain, remember, the majority of joint, including tendons, ligaments, bursa, etc., were not replaced and can be sources of pain in the future. If you have questions about whether the pain you are experiencing is normal, please ask your surgeon.

Call (855) 796-0593 today to learn more about Orthopedic Services and to schedule your appointment.