the hospital and return once the surgery is over. Just be sure that the ACU and the surgeon know how to contact this person. When your operating room is ready you will be transported to the Pre-Op Holding Area by a member of the nursing staff. Finally, your surgeon will conduct all required safety checks, such as marking the area of your body where the surgery will take place. WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY Following surgery you will leave the operating room and spend time in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. Here, the anesthesia staff and nurses will monitor your vital signs – temperature, blood pressure, etc. As the anesthesia wears off and you become more responsive, the nurses will manage your pain and monitor other symptoms while you are in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. Once you are stable, you will be transferred to your bed on the Medical-Surgical Unit. When you return to your regular hospital room on the day of surgery you will be tired and sleep most of the time. This is typical and should be expected. You will have a large bandage over the surgical site, and you will have an intravenous catheter in your arm to provide fluids and administer medications. You may have a urinary catheter to keep your bladder empty of urine. There may also be a drain in your surgical site that will be removed the first day after surgery. Your care team will monitor your progress throughout your hospital stay to ensure your safe and efficient recovery. They will continue to check your vital signs and change the dressings that cover your incision. PAIN MANAGEMENT Pain is often the biggest concern for patients when considering joint replacement surgery. Managing your pain is also important to us, and we will work with you to keep your pain after surgery to a minimal level by using medications, ice, and therapy. The first two days after surgery tend to be the most difficult – after that the pain will decrease significantly. The exact type of medication used to control your pain will be determined by your surgeon and is based on
your medical history and any adverse side effects you may have had in the past. Your doctor will make sure that you know what pain medication and remediation is available to you. One of the most important steps in controlling pain is keeping your doctor and nurses aware of your pain. Speaking up about how you feel is critical. Changes can be made if the pain is not being managed well. BREATHING EXERCISES AND PHYSICAL THERAPY The day after your operation, your nurses, physical therapists, and other caregivers will start you on a course of treatment that will begin your recovery and life with your new knee or hip. Getting out of bed is an important step to a quick recovery. Breathing exercises are an important part of your recovery. While lying in bed after your surgery, you will need to do breathing exercises on your own. You will be given a device known as an Incentive Spirometer. The nurse will instruct you on how to use this device. You will be expected to use this at least 10 times every hour while you are awake. This will help you to fully expand your lungs by breathing deeply and will prevent fluid collection, pneumonia and, fevers. From the first day after surgery, you will be expected to be out of bed at least 3 times each day. The nursing staff or therapist will help you. DO NOT get out of bed by yourself. On the morning following your surgery a physical therapist will assist you to a standing position, and using a walker, you will begin to walk on your new knee or hip. In most cases you will be allowed to put all your weight on your leg – this is called weight bearing as tolerated. Sometimes, because of the nature of your surgery, your surgeon may decide that you should place only a part of your weight on your leg – this is called partial weight bearing. As time passes you will be able to increase the amount of weight that you place on your operated side.
Published on May 10, 2012