It is important that you understand what will happen before and after your surgery. Mental and physical preparation for surgery plays an important role toward a successful outcome.
Optimising your health before surgery is important. For joint replacements you will be referred for:
- Blood tests
- Attend a pre-admission clinic
- an appointment with an anaesthetist
- review with General Physician.
Preparing yourself prior to admission:
- Hire crutches and practice using them, particularly up and down stairs.
- You can see a physiotherapist – they can fit you with crutches and practice.
- Make sure your dental checks are up to date.
- Make sure your skin is in good condition ie: no cuts, abrasions, sores, pimples.
- Make sure your bowel is in good working order. Try taking Metamucil (or similar) 1 week prior to surgery to avoid constipation.
- If you are overweight, losing weight prior to surgery will help minimise potential risks.
- Any blood thinning medication or fish oil should be ceased 5 days prior to surgery (unless otherwise specified by specialist).
- Smoking should be avoided at least 12 hours prior to surgery.
Detailed information regarding your hospital stay will be given when your procedure is booked.
During your hospital stay (for joint replacement):
A normal length of stay in hospital is 1-3 nights.
Hospitals are full of sick people and the less time you spend there, the less chance you will have a complication from being there.
If you are otherwise healthy, your chance of discharge after 1 night is 70%.
The first 24 hours or day 1 is usually very comfortable as the local anaesthetic blocks are still working.
The day 2 time period usually has the block wear off and patients feel some discomfort. This may require some medication such as plexia or endone to control. This will be the worst of the pain you will experience.
The day 3 period is usually quite comfortable and only improves from there.
Preparing for your return home after hospital:
- Arrange for someone to help with daily tasks like cooking, shopping, laundry.
- Pre-cook meals and have them ready in the freezer.
- Place items you use often within easy reach to avoid bending as often
- Limit the number of loose objects on the floor (eg mats) and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls
If you have day surgery, ensure you have someone to drive you home. Driving within the first 24 hours post surgery should be avoided. Information will be given regarding your specific surgery as to when it is safe to return to driving.