Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery

Steps in Preparing for Surgery:

  1. Pre-screening blood work
  2. Physical exam by your primary care physician
  3. Selecting your support person
  4. Pre-operative Education Class
  5. Provide your health history information to the surgery center Pre-Operative Nurse
  6. Contact your insurance company
  7. Discharge planning

Pre-Screening Blood Work

Your surgeon’s office will provide instructions for your primary care physician regarding pre-screening blood tests. Diagnostic tests might be ordered closer to your procedure date.

Physical Exam by Primary Care Physician:

Two weeks before your scheduled procedure, you will need to undergo a complete physical examination by your primary care physician. Based on your health history and/or test results, you may require further evaluation. This will help identify any medical problems you may have that could put you at an increased risk during or after your surgery.

Selecting Your Support Person:

This is the most important member of your team. Your support person’s commitment and active participation is the key to ensuring a successful, timely recovery. It is vital to select a support person that will be there for you during preparation, the Education Class, the day of surgery, and for several days after you are discharged home. It is critical and required that you have a support person to be with you for the first several days after the surgery.

Pre-operative Education Class:

To fully prepare you for your surgery, your orthopedic surgeon would like you to attend our Pre-operative Education Class. This class will enable you to participate in your care and gain a better understanding of the post-operative recovery period and exercise program. We encourage your support person to attend this class with you.

Provide Your Health History Information:

We are a separate facility from your surgeon’s office; therefore, we will need to obtain your health history information. In addition to your medical and surgical history, our pre-operative nursing staff will need to have a list of all your current medications /dosages and be aware of any allergies that you may have. This includes prescriptions, inhalers, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements. The nursing team will provide specific instructions to prepare for your visit, such as the time to arrive and eating/drinking restrictions.

Pre-admission Lab and Diagnostic Testing:

Your surgeon will order lab work and possibly an EKG/ECG. These tests may be done during your physical exam with your primary care physician. Results of these tests should be sent to your primary care physician, your surgeon, and the surgery center. If your physical exam shows that you have any risk factors, you may need additional testing.

Contact Your Insurance Company:

Please notify your insurance company to inform them of your upcoming procedure and to confirm details of your coverage.

Discharge Planning, what to do once you arrive home:

Meal Planning:

  • Prepare/purchase and freeze small portion meals for times you may be alone.
  • Stock up on items that can be frozen for later use.

Preparing Your Home Environment for a Safe Recovery:

  • Remove scattered rugs and clutter around the house.
  • Make sure that all stairways have hand railings and are secure.
  • Tuck away long phone cords and lamp cords.
  • Arrange furniture so that you can easily move about your house.
  • Prepare a non-skid tub/shower mats.
  • Select a chair from your home with a back, firm seat cushion and arms that you can designate as “your chair” after you return home from surgery.
  • If your bedroom is upstairs, you may want to prepare a sleeping area downstairs for the first week or two after you return home from surgery.

Help at Home:

To ensure your safety, you need to have a friend or family member available to help you for the first few days after you return home from the center.

What to Bring to the Surgery Center the Day of Surgery:

  • A walker or crutches (for hip, ankle or knee procedures only).
  • Loose, comfortable clothing to wear to and from the surgery center.
  • Tennis shoes or flat rubber-soled shoes that tie or slip-on.
  • Eyeglasses and denture cases.
  • Picture ID and Insurance Card
  • Leave jewelry, valuables, credit cards, and large sums of cash at home.

Health Tips for the Weeks Prior Your Surgery:

Stop Smoking

Studies have shown that tobacco and nicotine impair the body’s ability to heal bones and wounds. Smoking also increases your risk of complications during and after surgery.  Post-operative complications related to smoking can include pneumonia, surgical site infection, and joint replacement failure.

We encourage you to quit smoking. For more help, visit the American Lung Association website at http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking.

Exercise

Exercise is key to your recovery. One of the goals of the pre-operative Education Class is to introduce you to a physical therapist and your exercise program. Your exercise program begins before surgery and continues while you are in the center and when you return home. New exercises will be added as your physical condition changes.