If it has been decided by your surgeon and yourself that having a joint replacement is the right option for you, there are many things that you can prepare for in advance that will be beneficial to you after your surgery.
Questions to ask your surgeon
- Discuss a surgery date that suits you with your surgeon
- Discuss the risks of the surgery with your surgeon
- Discuss how long they plan to keep you in hospital post-surgery
- Schedule your 6 week follow up appointment with your surgeon
- Will you need to be seen by the nurse at some point to remove your stitches or to change your dressing
- Discuss the options for physiotherapy once you have been discharged from hospital, how often you will need it and where to go, or if you prefer home physiotherapy, you can organise this before you go into hospital so that you know when you come home, your physiotherapy programme can start without delay
- If you are taking anti-inflammatory medications, your surgeon may wish for you to stop taking them, so it is a good idea to check with them
- If you take blood thinning medications, you will need to discuss this with your surgeon as to whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
- Discuss what form of anaesthesia you will have
- Discuss what form of pain relief you can take when you return home
- Discuss how long you may need off of work or other activities that you do
How to prepare for joint replacement surgery
Exercise and physiotherapy
People seem to believe that physiotherapy comes after the surgery. This is where they are wrong! Exercise and physiotherapy pre-surgery is key to a quicker recovery. The more physically fit you are, the easier your recovery will be. Having good upper body strength will be so helpful in the days following your joint replacement, as you will need this strength to get yourself in and out of the bed and make it so much easier to get around on crutches if you have done the work beforehand.
Arranging prompt post-operative physiotherapy for when you leave the hospital is vital. You will start physiotherapy in the hospital but you will need to continue as soon as you are discharged, so getting this in place before you go into hospital will be extremely helpful to you. Physio is the key to successful rehabilitation!
Watch your weight
If you are overweight, trying to shift those pounds before surgery will also be a great help and will lighten the stress on your new artificial joint, making recovery speedier and easier for you.
If you smoke your surgeon would have advised you to stop. Smoking will slow down your recovery and rehabilitation and it can also prevent wounds from recovering well.
Preparations in the home
Preparing your home for your return from hospital will be very beneficial to you in the early days after your discharge:
- Ensure you have support in place when you get home. If you live alone, it is important to have a family member or a friend stay with you for a few days after discharge. If this cannot be arranged, talk to your doctor who can put you in touch with social services to ensure you get the help you need.
- Cooking and freezing meals in advance will be a great help for the days and weeks to come and this also means less work for your caregivers to think about too.
- Ensure you have someone to pick you up from the hospital when you are discharged and take you home.
The more help you have at home, the more rest you can get and the quicker your recovery will be.
Aids and appliances that may be helpful to you
- A raised toilet seat
- A shower or bath seat
- A grabber / reacher, if you drop something you can easily pick it up again with a grabber
- A long shoehorn to assist you putting your shoes on
- A walking frame with a tray attached to it, so you can carry a drink back to your chair if you are alone for any amount of time
- Putting up handrails by the stairs, bathroom or toilet
All these aids can be bought or hired from local or online mobility shops.
Declutter your home
Making space in your home is a great way to avoid any accidents that could occur following surgery. Look around your home and ensure there is enough space for you to use crutches, and a walking frame if needed.
To avoid accidents ensure:
- Rugs are removed temporarily as they are a slip hazard
- Moving furniture around so you can move around the room without banging into any furniture
- Ensure pet or children toys are not laying around on the floor
- Ensure cables and wires are out of the way
What you may need for your hospital bag
If you already own crutches, or a walking frame, please take them with you to hospital, alternatively, your hospital will supply this for you.
Useful things to put in your hospital bag:
- All toiletries that you need for a few days
- Loose fitting clothes, and if you are having a knee replacement, shorts or loose joggers that you can pull up easily for the doctors and physios to be able to get a look at your knee
- Phone / tablet and chargers
- Any medications that you take daily
- Any of your favourite foods that you may like for a snack
- A dressing gown
- Shoes that you can easily slip on, nothing with laces
- A good book
The day before your surgery
You will be given a time that you need to arrive in the hospital. You must ensure that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight and try and get as much rest as possible before the big day.
If you are planning on having joint replacement surgery, or you are post-surgery and in need of physiotherapy in the comfort of your own home, please contact Home Physio Group on 020 7096 0684