Having joint replacement surgery is a major decision – one not be taken lightly. While you will undoubtedly welcome the pain relief you will ultimately experience after you have healed, it is natural to be anxious about the procedure itself and recovery period.
To ease any apprehension you might have about joint replacement surgery, we’ll walk you through what to expect after surgery, both in the hospital and at home.
In the Hospital
You will be taken to your hospital room a few hours after surgery. For most patients, the first night is uncomfortable but tolerable with anti-nausea and intravenous pain medications. Ice is applied to the surgical site. If you had surgery in the morning, you might be up and about in the afternoon or evening, while others may rest.
The day after surgery, patients usually switch to oral pain medications and start physical therapy. The most important thing after any joint replacement surgery is to get up and get moving as quickly as possible.
You will be discharged with detailed instructions about medications and dosages, weight-bearing status, activities to do and those to avoid, problems to call your doctor about, and when to follow up in the office (usually after 2-3 weeks and 8 weeks). You can also download discharge instructions here.
During the first few weeks after hip or knee joint replacement surgery, there are a number of things to look out for as you begin the healing process.
The exercise program after joint replacement is not temporary, but continuous. It is very important to continue with physical therapy and exercises after any joint replacement or resurfacing procedure. Rehabilitation will help your improve your mobility and strength with each passing day.