What are the major risks?
Most surgeries go well, without any complications. Infection, blood clots, bleeding and dislocation are serious complications that concern us the most. To minimize these complications, we use various treatments such as early mobilization, antibiotics, blood thinners and reinforcement of special post-surgery precautions. We also take special measures in the operating room to reduce risk of infections. The chances of this happening in your lifetime are 1% or less.
Will I need blood?
Blood transfusion is sometimes required after total joint replacement. Blood from the hospital supply is considered safe, but we understand if you want to use your own. If you and your surgeon decide that self-donation (autologous blood) is best, the surgeon’s office will notify the hospital. We will contact you to set up a donation date, usually 3-4 weeks before the day of surgery.
What type of anesthesia will I have?
Prior to your surgery, you will meet with your anesthesiologist to review your medical history and formulate the most appropriate anesthetic to meet your individual needs. The anesthesia used can be any of the following: Spinal, epidural, general, regional nerve block, or a combination of any of the above. No matter what type of anesthesia you have, be assured you will not feel the surgery.
How will my pain be managed after my surgery?
Your anesthesiologist will formulate the best and most appropriate medication regimen to control your pain. Medications may be administered by oral or intravenous routes, or via an epidural or peripheral nerve catheter, or any combination thereof. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, numbness and weakness in the legs. Rest assured, your comfort is our top priority and your anesthesiologist will see you on a daily basis to assess your pain and side effects and adjust your treatments accordingly.
How long does the surgery take?
Approximately 2-2 ½ hours are reserved for your surgery; however, your surgery may take less.
How long will I be in the hospital following my joint replacement?
Typically following a joint replacement, you will stay in the hospital 2-3 days. Certain goals need to be met in order for you to be discharged.
Where will I go after discharge from the hospital?
Most patients are able to go home directly after discharge. Some may transfer to a sub-acute facility or to an inpatient rehab center. Your Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center team, including your case manager, will help you with this decision and make the necessary arrangements. You should check with your insurance company regarding benefits prior to your surgery.
Will I need help at home? What if I live alone?
During the first several days or weeks, depending on your progress, you will need someone to assist you with meal preparations, etc. If you go directly home from the hospital, you will have a visiting nurse come to your house as needed. It would be beneficial if family members or friends are available to help you. Making special preparations before your surgery, such as having the laundry done and your house cleaned can minimize the amount of help required. A preoperative visit from the Home Care department can also help you prepare for coming home.
Will I need special equipment at home?
Prior to your hospitalization, our rehabilitation staff will assess your equipment needs and make recommendations. The case manager will coordinate obtaining the appropriate equipment. We recommend that you use a walker, cane or crutches for about six weeks after your surgery.
Will I need physical therapy when I go home?
If you go directly home from the hospital, you will either have outpatient physical therapy or a therapist may come to your home.
Do you recommend any restrictions following this surgery?
Yes. High-impact activities, such as running, singles tennis and basketball are not recommended. You will need to follow the precautions recommended by your physician.
What physical/recreational activities may I participate in after my recovery?
You are encouraged to participate in low-impact activities such as walking, dancing, golfing, hiking, swimming, bowling and gardening.
When will I be able to get back to work?
We recommend that most people take at least one month off of work, unless your job is sedentary and you can return to work with crutches or other assistive devices. An occupational therapist can make recommendations for joint protection and energy conservation on the job.
How long until I can drive and get back to normal?
Typically, when you are discharged you will be independent with basic activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing. Your physician or physical therapist can advise you on when you can resume driving.
How often will I need to be seen by my doctor following the surgery?
Your first post-operative office visit is usually two weeks after discharge. The frequency of follow-up visits will depend on your progress. Many patients are seen monthly until stabile and then yearly.
If you have any other questions, please speak with your physician.