When your orthopedic surgeon decides that joint replacement surgery is the best option to relieve pain and restore motion, you will begin the normal preparation for surgery. You should notify your surgeon about any of the medications you are presently taking because some medications must be stopped before surgery. All surgeries carry certain risks and possible complications. Before surgery, your surgeon will explain the possible complications. Your orthopedic surgeon may ask you to see your doctor to make sure that you do not have any health conditions that may complicate your surgery.
You may be asked to donate blood before your surgery. There are several options regarding blood donation and surgery, and all of these options should be explained to you.
Surgery also requires anaesthetic. There may be some options regarding this and they will be explained to you. Your options will be based on your health history, the medications you presently take, and the results of your physical examination.
Before a planned admission to hospital, take a long hot soapy bath or shower, without using heavily scented brands, and have an all-over scrub with a soft gentle brush or loofah. Clip your toe and finger nails (removing all nail polish) and wash your hair. Put on freshly laundered underwear. All this helps prevent unwanted bacteria coming into hospital with you and complicating your care.
You may be advised to stop taking any drugs that might increase the risk of bleeding. Examples of these are Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medication. Make sure you tell the doctor or nurse everything that you are taking, including any herbal supplements and any ‘over the counter’ medicines. They will then be able to tell you if you need to stop taking any of your medications, and when. This is important because a number of drugs and herbal remedies can interact with your anaesthetic and potentially cause complications.
Your surgeon may also recommend that you start a strengthening programme before surgery. The prescribed exercises are designed to help add strength, flexibility. Strengthening your muscles before surgery can assist your post-operative recovery.
It is important to do the recommended exercises leading up to your planned surgery as this will strengthen your muscles and help in the recovery period.
Strengthening the muscles around the joint will aid your recovery, so you should try to stay as active as possible before the operation. If you want advice about specific exercises, ask to be referred to a physiotherapist for a one-off session.
If you are able to, you should keep up gentle exercise, like walking and swimming, before your operation.
You will recover more quickly from surgery if you are healthy beforehand. Try to eat a healthy diet in the time leading up to your operation. If you have any concerns about your diet, discuss them with your doctor; you may be referred to a dietician if necessary. If you are overweight, it is very important to reduce your weight in preparation for your surgery. This will help to reduce any risks associated with the anaesthetic and your new joint may last longer.
Smoking cigarettes will compromise healing after any surgery. Heavy smoking also contributes to lung, heart and other medical problems. All of these can make recovery much harder.
It is best to try and stop smoking, at least 2 weeks before surgery and 6 weeks after to give time for the wound and soft tissue around the hip to heal. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to the tissues around the operated joint. Oxygen is vital for the healing process