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The Experience: Preparing Yourself and Your Home for Surgery

When you and your orthopedic surgeon decide that joint replacement surgery is the best option to relieve pain and restore motion, you will begin the normal preparation for surgery. You should tell your surgeon which medications you are presently taking because some may need to be stopped before surgery.

All surgeries carry certain risks and possible complications. Before surgery, your surgeon will explain these possible complications. Your orthopedic surgeon may ask you to see your primary care physician to make sure that you do not have any health conditions that may complicate your surgery.

You may be asked to donate blood before your surgery. Your surgeon will explain all the options available to you.

Surgery also requires anesthesia. The kind of anesthesia that will be administered will depend on a number of factors including your health history, current medications and the results of your physical examination.

To aid in post-surgery recovery, your surgeon may prescribe strengthening exercises before the surgery to help add strength and  flexibility. In addition, your surgeon will give you a specific recovery plan that should be followed carefully. Do not attempt exercises or changes to your recovery schedule that are not prescribed by your surgeon. It takes time for your joint to heal properly.

Planning ahead for your return home:

  • Launder all of your dirty clothing before your surgery. Have loose, comfortable clothing set aside for your recovery time.
  • Prepare single-serving meals before your surgery. These meals can be heated quickly in a microwave.
  • Be sure to remove loose rugs and other trip hazards such as electrical cords and magazine racks from walking paths to avoid accidents or falls. If necessary, widen furniture paths to accommodate a walker or cane.
  • To simplify accessibility, place regularly used items such as remote controls, medications, and reading materials in easily accessible locations.
  • Keep bedding loose and untucked to allow for easier access in and out of your bed. If your bedroom is on a second floor, it may be helpful to temporarily relocate your sleeping arrangements to the first floor.
  • Having some assistance after total joint replacement can also be very beneficial. Contact family members or friends ahead of time so they may make the necessary arrangements to assist in your recovery.