Pre-Operative Joint Replacement FAQ
1. What information should patients assemble before surgery?
Before joint replacement surgery, it is important to have all required documentation. Vital information to provide the orthopedic surgeon includes:
- A detailed list of all medications, including name of medication, dosage, and frequency taken
- Allergies or any previous adverse reactions to drugs or anesthesia
- Pre-existing health problems (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, blood clots, bleeding problems, etc)
All patients undergoing joint replacement must have a preoperative physical exam by their primary care provider which may include blood work, urinalysis, and EKG.
On the day of surgery, patients must bring their insurance cards, preoperative physical exam paperwork and primary emergency contact information.
2. Are patients allowed to exercise before surgery?
Yes. Dr. Kruse will recommend pre-surgical exercises to help ease the recovery process. The vast majority of patients attend a preoperative joint replacement class at either Mercy or Unity Hospital. Exercise details are given at these classes and should be done during the month leading up to surgery. It is important to have good upper body strength to help with crutch and/or walker use after knee or hip replacement as you will rely on your arms heavily. Dr. Kruse may also recommend that patients start practicing post-operative exercises, also given at the class, so they are familiar with them before returning home.
In addition to exercise, Dr. Kruse strongly recommends patients stop smoking prior to surgery as can change blood flow patterns and slow the healing process. It is also crucial to stop all alcohol consumption 48 hours before surgery.
3. What items should patients bring to the hospital on the day of surgery?
On the day of surgery, it is recommended that patients bring:
- Loose fitting clothing for the hospital stay and physical therapy
- List of medications
- A copy of the preoperative history and physical exam form as well as labs (if available)
- Copies of insurance information and medical history
- Personal care items, such as a hair brush and toothbrush
- On the day of surgery, do not wear makeup, hair products, perfume or jewelry. Leave all valuables at home.
4. What will happen upon arrival at the hospital?
Upon arriving at the hospital, patients will be escorted to the pre-surgical area where they will change into a hospital gown. After changing, the nursing staff will take vital signs, start intravenous (IV) fluids, and administer any required medications. An anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will meet with the patient and discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used during and/or after surgery (i.e. general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, femoral nerve block/catheter). Patients will then be transported to the operating room for surgery.
5. What steps can be taken to prepare for returning home after surgery?
Recovery after joint replacement is typically 3-6 months with the biggest adjustment occurring in the first 2-4 weeks. It is recommended that patients prepare their home by:
- Removing any area rugs, electrical cords, or objects from areas that could increase the risk of falling.
- Place frequently used items in easy to reach places
- Add bathroom aids such as a shower chair or shower bar
It is recommended that a friend or family member stay with the patient for the first 3-5 days after returning home to assist with activities of daily living (transferring from bed to chairs, bathroom assistance, dressing changes, etc).