Every hospital has its own particular procedures, however, they often follow the basic routine outlined below. Your surgeon and hospital where the surgery will be performed will provide you with information detailing their specific procedures.
- Arrive at the hospital at the appointed time
- Complete the admission process
- Final pre-surgery assessment of vital signs and general health
- Final meeting with anesthesiologist and operating room nurse
- Start IV (intravenous) catheter for administration of fluids and antibiotics
- Transportation to the operating room
- Joint replacement surgery — generally lasts 1 to 2 hours
- Transportation to a recovery room
- Ongoing monitoring of vital signs until condition is stabilized
- Transportation to individual hospital room
- Ongoing monitoring of vital signs and surgical dressing
- Orientation to hospital routine
- Evaluation by physical therapist
- Diet of clear liquids or soft foods, as tolerated
- Begin post-op activities taught during pre-op visit
In the days following surgery, your condition and progress will continue to be closely monitored by your orthopaedic surgeon, nurses, and physical therapists. Much time will be given to exercising the new joint, as well as deep breathing exercises to prevent lung congestion. Gradually, pain medication will be reduced, the IV will be removed, diet will progress to solid food, and you will become increasingly mobile.
Joint replacement patients are generally discharged from the hospital when they are able to achieve certain rehabilitative milestones, such as getting in and out of bed unassisted or walking 100 feet. Whether you are sent directly home or to a facility that assists in rehabilitation will depend on your physician’s assessment of your abilities.