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Joint replacement surgery can be an intimidating experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s go over what you need to do to prepare for the surgery, what to expect the day of the operation and what to expect afterwards.

One Week Before Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery

  • You will need to see your primary care physician to have a complete preoperative clearance, including blood work, an EKG, a chest X-ray, and urine analysis.
  • You will have a pre-op visit with Dr. Zeegen to review the procedure and ask questions regarding the surgery and recovery process.
  • Stop taking any blood thinning medications or non-steroidal. anti-inflammatory drugs 10 days before surgery.

Day of Surgery (Pre-Op)

  • Make sure you have nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
  • You will have an IV started by a nurse in the preoperative holding area.
  • You will receive antibiotics one hour before surgery.
  • Pain medication will be given in the preoperative holding area.
  • You will meet the anesthesiologist and the type of anesthesia to be used will be discussed.

After Surgery

  • Some patients are candidates to go home the same day as the surgery. You will need to discuss this with Dr. Zeegen to see if this is an option for you.
  • Otherwise, most patients stay one night and go home the next day.
  • You will be administered antibiotics for 24 hours.
  • You will receive pain medication to keep you comfortable.
  • If you had knee surgery, you should wear your knee immobilizer at night for the first few days or when walking until you are able to perform a straight leg raise. Most patients discontinue its use after about a week.
  • The bandage on the incision is changed daily for about a week to provide new, sterile gauze.
  • You will be on a blood thinner and have compression devices placed around your lower legs to help prevent blood clots.

After Hospital Discharge

  • Most patients go home, although a few go to rehabilitation facilities for 7 – 10 days.
  • Home physical therapy will be prescribed.
  • If you had knee surgery, ice your knee 3-4 times a day for at least 20 minutes at a time.
  • You will be on a blood thinner for several weeks after the surgery.
  • If you are started on Coumadin, your blood will be drawn by a visiting nurse at your home on Mondays and Thursdays to monitor the Coumadin level.

Warning Signs – Call Dr. Zeegen If You Experience Any of These

  • A fever greater than 101.5 F.
  • A sudden increase in pain.
  • Excessive drainage from the incision.
  • Unusual redness, warmth or swelling around the incision.
  • Calf pain and marked swelling in the leg.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.

Precautions for patients who’ve had a posterior hip replacement (HIP PRECAUTIONS)

  • Do not bend too far over when standing – not more than at a right angle.
  • Don’t raise your legs or thighs more than 90 degrees.
  • Do not raise your hip more than 90 degrees, even when sitting or lying down.
  • Don’t roll your leg inwards, which is especially important when turning on one’s side or turning in bed.

Antibiotics and Dental Work after Joint Replacement Surgery

  • You should take Amoxicillin (2 grams) one hour before dental work.
  • If you are allergic to Penicillin, an alternative antibiotic will be prescribed.
  • Avoid any dental cleaning and other non-urgent procedures for 6 weeks after surgery.

Follow-Up Appointments

It is very important that patients make all of their follow up appointments with Dr. Zeegen. They should be made:

  • 10-14 days after surgery
  • 6 weeks after surgery
  • 3 months after surgery
  • 6 months after surgery
  • 1 year after surgery
  • once a year thereafter

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns please call the office at or .

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