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What You Should Do to Prepare for Joint Replacement Surgery

If you have tried other treatments to relieve achy joint pain but they have not worked, you might have already spoken with your doctor on joint replacement surgery. Before you have your surgery, there are some things to do to prepare yourself mentally and physically.

You can ensure a smoother and speedier recovery by planning ahead and by following the recommendation by your doctor, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Learn About the Surgery

You should speak with your provider about what to expect before, during, and after the surgery. The better you understand, the better you will be prepared for the challenges of recovering from your joint replacement surgery. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like to your provider about the surgery. Ask about how long you might be in the hospital, what type of anesthesia will you receive, how long recovery time might be and how you can alieve any pain you might have.

Prepare Your Body

Preparations you make before the surgery can directly impact the outcome of your procedure and your recovery. The AAOS offers pre-surgery tips, such as:

  • Quit smoking if you currently smoke. Smoking can delay the healing process and slow down your recovery from surgery.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about any drugs or medicines that you are taking.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet in the weeks before surgery. If you are overweight, ask your doctor about a weight-loss program.
  • If you drink, do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery.
  • Ask your doctor if there are any exercises you can do prior to the surgery. If you are having a hip or knee replaced, exercises to strengthen your upper body can help you prepare to use crutches or a walker after surgery.

Plan for Recovery

Joint replacement is a major surgery and your recovery may take some time. There are steps you can take before your surgery to ensure your home is ready for recovery.

  • If you live alone, ask a friend or family member to stay with you for a few days after your surgery.
  • If you cook for yourself, try meal prepping before your surgery. Make double batches of meals you like so you can put some in the freezer. You could have two weeks’ worth of meals ready to go.
  • Place items you use regularly at arm level so you do not have to reach up or bend down.
  • Borrow a cane, walker or crutches to practice maneuvering around your home. You may need to rearrange some furniture to make it easier to navigate your home.
  • Remove any throw or area rugs that could cause you to slip. Securely fasten electrical cords around the perimeter of the room.
  • Consider modifying your bathroom to include a shower chair, gripping bar, or raised toilet seat.
  • Place items that you use frequently (phone, remote control, tissues, pitcher and glass, reading material and medications, for example) within easy reach so that you do not have to reach up or bend down.
  • If you do not already have a disabled parking permit, apply for a temporary permit several weeks before your surgery.

Joint replacement surgery is successful for most people. If you plan accordingly and follow the directions of your doctor, you can have a smooth and speedy recovery from your surgery.

To learn more about what to do to prepare for your surgery, watch the video below.

For more information about hip, knee, and shoulder joint replacement surgeries, visit the following links to see animated videos that depict the surgery and details. These videos are from OrthoInfo and were created by Visual Health Solutions, LLC.

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