Three ways to prepare for joint replacement surgery

Joint replacement surgery is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures performed in the United States. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in 2011, more than one million hip and knee replacement surgeries were performed in the U.S. As our bodies age, the likelihood of needing one or more joints replaced becomes more likely to improve functionality and relieve pain. If you are scheduled to have joint replacement surgery or think you may be in the future, it’s important to educate yourself about your procedure and make preparations for living life after surgery. The following tips can help you learn more about how to prepare for a successful recovery.

Learn more about your procedure

Facing a joint replacement procedure can make you somewhat nervous if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why it’s important to learn all you can about your upcoming surgery. Ask your doctor what to expect before, during and after your procedure. Some good questions to ask are:

Before questions

What is the process to be admitted to the hospital?

-How long am I expected to stay in the hospital?

-How should I prepare for the surgery?

During questions

What type implant or prosthesis will be used in my body?

-How long will the procedure take?

-How long will I be sedated?

-Am I at risk for any complications? Can I do anything to reduce my risk?

After questions

-How much pain should I expect afterward?

-How will my pain be managed?

-Is rehabilitation recommended after my procedure?

-How long will it take to fully heal and regain mobility?

Prepare your surroundings

As with any major medical procedure, it is helpful to prepare your home for your return after joint replacement surgery. You must remember that your mobility will be different for some time after having your procedure and your surroundings should reflect that fact. Make your home safer and easier to navigate by rearranging furniture and decorations. Try to create clear and wide walkways that can easily accommodate an assistive device such as a walker or cane. Remove objects that could cause you to trip, such as rugs, badly placed cords and accent furniture pieces.  Place things that you frequently use, such as remote controls and medications, within close proximity so you do not have to reach or bend to get them.  Look at the layout of your home’s rooms and determine if you could easily and safely use the furniture without assistance after your surgery. For example, is your favorite chair too low, soft, and hard to get out of when you want to stand? You may want to consider re-arranging your furniture to place sturdier and safer pieces in your favorite places to sit.  Look at your daily grooming and dressing routine to find areas that will need modifications. Look at your bathroom and consider adding safety aids such as a shower chair, non-slip bathtub stickers, grip bars, and a raised toilet seat. Next, look at your bedroom or dressing area to find out if you will need aids for getting dressed. If so, shop for specialty items such as reachers, grabbing tools, long-handled shoehorns, or button hooks.

Plan for your rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is an important part of recovering from the surgery and getting back on your feet. Rehab helps you recover faster, improve flexibility and range of motion and may minimize the development of scar tissue. Participation in inpatient rehab at a skilled nursing facility, such as Rehab First, offers a number of added benefits for joint replacement patients including the ability to recover in a home-like environment with access to 24/7 medical care. Your rehabilitation schedule will focus on strengthening the musculature around your joint as well as helping you regain normal range of motion. There will be a number of therapeutic exercises that the therapists will prescribe based on your needs and they will work with you to set tangible personalized goals aimed at optimal health and mobility.

If you would like to learn more about how Rehab First can give you the comfort, care and results you need after your joint replacement surgery, go to www.rehab-first.com.

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