Replacement Guidebook - Parkwest Medical Center

Replacement Guidebook - Parkwest Medical Center
Replacement Guidebook
Surgeon’s Pre-Operative Physical Therapy Evaluation has been scheduled for:
Date__________________ Time:______________ Location: _________________________________________
Parkwest Registration/Pre-Admission Testing (PAT) has been scheduled for:
Date__________________________ Time:_______________________
(Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time)
he Registration Desk is located in the front lobby of Parkwest Medical Center
(9352 Park West Blvd.)
lthough your Primary Care Physician may perform lab work, you will still be scheduled to meet
with the Pre-Admission Testing Department prior to your surgery.
• For a list of items to bring with you, see page 12.
• If you must reschedule your appointment, please call 865-373-1450.
Joint Class has been scheduled for:
Date__________________________ Time:_______________________
The Joint Class is conducted at Parkwest Medical Center. Enter through the main lobby and take elevators down to the lower level (LL). The Grubb Room is located on the left side of in the cafeteria dining
area. Bring your Joint Replacement Handbook with you to this class.
Primary Care Physician appointment for medical clearance for surgery is scheduled for:
Date__________________________ Time:_______________________
Cardiology or Other Specialty Physician appointment for medical clearance for surgery is scheduled for:
Date__________________________ Time:_______________________
Other Pre-Operative Appointments
Where:___________________________________ Date:___________________ Time:__________________
Where:___________________________________ Date:___________________ Time:__________________
Surgeon’s Info
Preparation, education, continuity of care, and a pre-planned discharge program that are essential for optimum results in joint replacement. Communication is essential to this process. The Guidebook is a communication and education tool for patients, physicians, physical and occupational therapists and nurses. It is
designed to help you in preparation for your total joint replacement. It will outline:
• What to expect every step of the way
• What you need to do
• How to care for your new joint
Remember, this is just a guide. Your physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, nurses, or therapist
may add to or change any of the recommendations. Always use their recommendations first and ask questions if you are unsure of any information. Keep your Guidebook as a handy reference for at least the first
year after your surgery.
We encourage all of our joint replacement patients to ask a family member or friend to assist as a Joint
Coach. A Joint Coach will help you throughout your experience and provide you with assistance. Your Joint
Coach will work with you while you’re with us and after you return home. We ask they come with you to
your appointments, Pre-Admission Testing, Joint Class, the day of surgery, and post-operative days. Select
someone who is patient and supportive in nature. This person should also be available when you return
Joint Coach Responsibilities:
• Attend your Pre-Admission Testing appointment with you
• Help you prepare your home by following the preoperative checklist
• Go with you to group exercise therapy each day to give you support and encouragement
• Work with your care team to learn how to assist your joint patient with bathing, dressing and toileting
• Help you stay focused on your success
• Keep you company by watching TV with you, playing cards, watching movies on laptop, etc.
• Encourage you to do daily exercise when you return home
• Assist with bathing, dressing and meals after you return home
• Assist you with shopping and driving until you are ready to do these on your own
Frequently Asked Questions about Total Joint Surgery
Patients have asked many questions about total joint replacement. Below is a list of the most frequently asked
questions along with their answers. If there are any other questions that you need answered, please ask your surgeon or the Parkwest Joint Care Coordinator. We want you to be completely informed about this procedure.
Am I too old for this surgery?
Age is generally not a factor if you are in reasonable health and have the desire to continue living a productive,
active life. You may be asked to see your personal physician for his/her opinion about your general health and
readiness for surgery.
What if I live alone?
Three options are usually available to you. You may return home and receive help from a relative or friend. You
can have a home health nurse and physical therapist assist you at home for a short time. You may arrange transportation to an outpatient physical therapy facility. You may also stay at a skilled nursing facility following your
hospital stay, depending on your insurance.
Will I need help at home?
Yes, for the first few days or weeks, depending on your progress, you will need someone to assist you with meal
preparation, etc. Family or friends need to be available to help as needed. Preparing ahead of time, before your
surgery, can minimize the amount of help needed. Having the laundry done, house cleaned, yard work completed,
clean linens put on the bed, and single portion frozen meals will help reduce the need for extra help.
What is the recovery time?
Approximately 90% of your recovery occurs over the first four to six weeks. The remaining 10% will come within
the first year.
Will I need physical therapy when I go home?
Some patients may have outpatient or in-home physical therapy. Patients are encouraged to utilize outpatient
physical therapy. Your Case Manager will help you arrange for an outpatient physical therapy appointment. If you
need in-home physical therapy, we will arrange for a physical therapist to provide therapy at your home. Following
this, you may go to an outpatient facility two to three time a week to assist in your rehabilitation. The length of
time required for this type of therapy varies with each patient.
Is it normal to hear clicking in my knee after surgery?
You may hear clicking in the knee after surgery and this is normal. It is usually more noticeable after surgery when
you have swelling. As the swelling decreases the clicking may become less noticeable.
Can I go up and down stairs?
Yes. You will do stair training while in the hospital after surgery. As your muscles get stronger and our motion
improves, you will be able to perform stairs in a more normal fashion [usually in about four weeks].
What position can I sleep in?
You may sleep in any position you feel comfortable in. Ensure that your leg is kept in a straight position without
anything under your knee.
When can I kneel?
After several months you can try to kneel. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will not be harmful or damaging to your knee. Most of the discomfort comes from kneeling on your recent incision.
How long until I can drive and get back to normal?
The ability to drive depends on whether surgery was on your right leg or your left leg and the type of car you
have. If the surgery was on your left leg and you have an automatic transmission, you could be driving as
early as two weeks post-op. If the surgery was on your right leg, your driving could be restricted for as long
as four to six weeks. Getting back to normal will depend somewhat on your progress. Consult with your
surgeon or therapist for their advice on your activity.
When can I travel?
You may travel as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. In general, consider waiting until after three weeks
post-op. You should get up to stretch or walk at least once an hour and stay well hydrated when taking long
trips. This is important to prevent blood clots.
Will I set off the security monitors at the airport?
Most likely. Be proactive and inform security personnel that you have had a knee or hip replacement. Wear
clothing that will allow you to show them your incision scar if necessary. A letter from your physician or a
wallet card does not help when passing through security checkpoints and are therefore no longer given.
When will I be able to get back to work?
If your work is mostly sedentary, you can return within four weeks, using a walker or cane. If your work is
significantly more active, you may require up to three months before you can return to full duty.
How long will my activity be limited?
Most patients will be walking or assisted up to a recliner chair on the day of surgery. However, the next morning all
patients will get up, sit in a chair or recliner, and should be walking with a walker or cane later that day.
What is the chance for success?
Success of the surgery should be answered by asking the following three questions:
1. Are you glad you had the operation?
2. Did it fulfill your expectations?
3. Would you do it again?
Approximately 98% of patients at one year will say “yes” to all three questions.
How long will my new joint last and can a second replacement be done?
All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on an individual’s age, weight, activity level, and medical conditions(s). A total joint implant’s longevity will vary in every patient. The most important factors in
maintaining your knee replacement would be your activity level and keeping your weight under control. It is
important to remember that an implant is a medical device subject to wear that may lead to mechanical failure. While it is important to follow all of your surgeon’s recommendations after surgery, there is no guarantee that your particular implant will last for any specific length of time.
Will I require a revision?
Just as your original joint wears out, a joint replacement will wear over time as will. The most common reason for revision is loosening of the artificial surface from the bone. Wearing of the plastic spacer may also
result in the need for a new spacer. Your surgeon will explain the possible complications associated with
total joint replacement.
What are the possible complications associated with joint replacement?
While uncommon, complications can occur during and after surgery. Some complications include infection,
blood clots, implant breakage, malalignment, dislocation, bone fracture, and premature wear, any of which
may necessitate implant removal/replacement surgery. While these devices are generally successful in
attaining reduced pain and restored function, they cannot be expected to withstand the activity levels and
loads of normal healthy bone and joint tissue. Although implant surgery is extremely successful in most
cases, some patients still experience pain and stiffness. No implant will last forever, and factors such as a patient’s post-surgical activities and weight can affect longevity. Be sure to discuss these and other risks with
your surgeon.
How long does the surgery take?
The hospital reserves approximately one to two hours for surgery. Some of this time is taken by the operating room staff to prepare for the surgery.
Who will be performing the surgery?
Your orthopedic surgeon will perform the surgery. An assistant often helps during the procedure.
Do I need to be put to sleep for this surgery?
You may have a general anesthetic, which most people call “being put to sleep”. Some patients prefer to have a
spinal or epidural anesthetic, which numbs the legs only and does not require you to be under full, general anesthesia, although you will be sedated. The choice is between you, your surgeon, and the anesthesiologist.
Will the surgery be painful?
You will have discomfort following the surgery, but we will try to keep you as comfortable as possible with
the appropriate pain medication.
How long will I be on pain medication?
It is not unusual to require some form of pain medication for approximately six to 12 weeks. Most people are
able to wean off their strong pain medication [Norco, Lortab, Vicodin, Percocet] after four to six weeks and
switch to over-the-counter type of medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
How long, and where, will my scar be?
Surgical scars will vary and depend on the specific surgical technique and approach your surgeon uses. Consult with your surgeon for specifics of the surgical scar. In general, most surgeons will make surgical scars as
short as possible. If you have had previous surgery, your surgeon may use all or part of your previous scar. If
having total hip replacement, your incision may be along the side of your hip, toward the back of your hip, or
toward the front of your hip. There may be some lasting numbness around the scar.
When do my stitches/staples come out?
At your follow up appointment, two to three weeks post-op. Some surgeons use sutures under the skin that
dissolve, and a follow up appointment is not necessary. Your follow up appointment will be scheduled per your
surgeon’s protocol.
How often will I need to be seen by my doctor following the surgery?
Your surgeon, the physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner, will visit you daily while you are in the hospital. You
will be seen for your first postoperative office visit a few weeks after discharge. The frequency of follow-up visits
will depend on your progress. Many patients are seen at four week, twelve weeks, one year, and then every five years.
Will I need a walker, crutches, or a cane?
Yes, for about two to three weeks we do recommend that you use a walker or cane. Your discharge planner can
arrange for this equipment if necessary.
When can I resume sexual activity?
Generally, most people wait to resume sexual activity until a few weeks after surgery. Your incision, muscles,
and ligaments need time to heal. You can resume sexual activity when you feel ready. The bottom or missionary
position is usually the most safe and comfortable. It is important to not bend the affected hip or knee. Two pillows
placed between the knees are needed for the side lying position. There should be no bending past 90 degrees if
using the top position. Discuss return to sexual activity with your surgeon. Always use the hip precautions taught
to you to protect your new hip.
Are there any permanent restrictions following this surgery?
Yes, high-impact activities, such as running, singles tennis, and basketball are not recommended. Injury-prone
sports such as downhill skiing are also restricted.
What physical/recreational activities may I participate in after my recovery?
You are encouraged to participate in low-impact activities such as walking, dancing, golf, hiking, bicycling, swimming,
bowling, and gardening at your doctor’s discretion. Good activities to help motion and strengthening are swimming and
use of a stationary bicycle. High impact activities like running can affect the longevity of your implants.
Will I notice anything different about my new joint?
You may have a small area of numbness around the scar, which may be permanent. In many cases, patients think
that their new joint feels completely natural. However, we always recommend avoiding extreme positions or high
impact physical activity.
For total knee patients: Kneeling may be uncomfortable for a year or more. Some patients notice some clicking
when the move their knee. This is usually the result of the artificial surfaces rubbing against each other.
For total hip patients: The leg with the new hip may be longer than it was before, either because of pervious shortening due to the hip disease or because of the a need to lengthen the hip to avoid dislocation. Most patients get
used to this feeling in time or can use a small lift in the other shoe. Some patients have aching in the thigh on
weight bearing for a few months after surgery.
What are the signs of infection that I should watch out for?
Signs of infection include, pain, redness, swelling, and thick yellowish drainage from your incision. Your incision
may feel hot to the touch. Increased pain and feeling of tightness in upper leg. A persistent temperature of over
101 degrees often accompanies these symptoms. Call your surgeons office immediately if you’re experiencing any
of these symptoms. If it is after normal business hours check to see if your surgeon has an after-hours clinic. If so,
you usually can be seen there quickly.
How long do I have to wear surgical stockings?
If used by your surgeon, for four weeks. You may take them off for one hour a day or when bathing. Some surgeons do not
require the use of surgical stockings. Check with your surgeon for their specific protocol.
When can I shower and wash my hair?
You may shower and wash your hair when you’re surgeon says you can. No tub baths or swimming pools until staples/sutures are removed. If you do not have staples/sutures, then it is at the discretion of your surgeon. No hot tubs for a minimum
of six weeks [risk of infection from bacteria in hot water].
When can I resume taking my arthritis medications?
You may resume taking your arthritis medications based on instructions from your surgeon.
Does the surgeon’s office pre-authorize my surgery?
Yes. Your surgeon’s office will pre-authorize all surgeries prior to the surgical date. Please feel free to contact your
insurance company for your pre-authorization number.
Do I need a second opinion?
Usually not, but each insurance company is different. It is important that you contact your insurance company to
confirm the requirements to be met before your surgery.
Will my insurance cover 100 percent of my surgery and recovery costs?
Probably not, so it is best to check with your insurance company so you are not surprised with an unexpected bill.
Many insurance companies cover most of the cost of the surgery, but not all of it. Also, many companies do not
cover the cost of the medical equipment such as crutches, walkers, and bathroom equipment. Remember that you
will receive bills from the hospital, your surgeon, anesthesiologist and possibly other providers.
1. Take a moment to speak with your medical doctor or cardiologist about your regular prescription medications
[blood thinner, blood pressure, heart, cholesterol] and what effect they may have on your surgery. These physicians are responsible for guiding you as to when you are to stop taking these medications before surgery.
2. Cancel any dental appointments that fall between four weeks prior to surgery and three months after surgery.
3. Adjust your work/social schedule accordingly during your anticipated recovery time.
4. Make arrangements to have someone stay with you the first week after your surgery. Not all insurance companies will approve for you to go to an inpatient nursing facility.
5. While taking narcotic pain medication you will not be permitted to drive. Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, and Percocet are narcotics. You may need to arrange for transportation to your initial follow up visit.
Physical Therapy in the Hospital
• You will be allowed to put full weight on your leg
• I n the first few days after surgery you will get in/out of bed, stand, walk, walk to the bathroom with
assistance and go up/down stairs.
• You will leave the hospital on a walker
A day or two after you discharge from the hospital you will begin physical therapy with an in-home physical
therapist or you will begin physical therapy at an outpatient physical therapy center. Your surgeon prefers
you go home versus an inpatient nursing facility. Studies show that patients who go home have less complications.
Outpatient and Home Health Physical Therapy
ou’re outpatient physical therapy will be arranged by a coordinator at your surgeon’s office or the
case manager at Parkwest Medical Center.
• I f you have previously used a physical therapy center and had good results, you may want to consider
using that center again.
he Joint Coordinator discusses rehab options at the pre-surgery Joint Class and can assist you with
this decision.
he number of times a week and the number of weeks you will attend physical therapy will depend on
your surgeon’s protocol.
• You will have mild bruising and swelling initially [Day 1] that will start at the surgical site.
• Bruising and swelling are normal after surgery and vary from one individual to another.
• Bruising and swelling will continue to increase over the first two weeks after your surgery.
• You may see bruising in your groin area. This bruising may eventually move down to your toes.
• Expect swelling in your entire leg including your feet.
After your surgery has been scheduled, you will come to Parkwest for Pre-Admission Testing and Joint Class.
If you previously had a joint replacement at Parkwest and it has been longer than a year ago, your surgeon
may suggest you attend this class as many changes are made to our program every year.
This class is scheduled so that you can attend on the same day as your Pre-Admission Testing appointment.
Allow 4 hours for your Pre-Admission Testing appointment and Joint Class
Your Pre-Admission Testing Appointment will include:
1. Hospital registration
• Review of your insurance information
• Collection of any co-payment
• Signing of admission forms
• Review of Advance Directives
2. Pre-Admission Testing
• Nursing Assessment
• Review of your prescription medications, including over-the-counter meds, vitamins, and supplements
• Review of your medical history
• Any tests required – such as blood, urine specimen, EKG, and chest X-Ray
• An anesthesia pre-op assessment
This information will be reviewed by an anesthesiologist who will clear you for surgery. If any concerns exist,
you will be notified. There is a possibility that your surgery could be cancelled or delayed if there is something that needs further evaluation or attention.
If you need to reschedule your appointment, please call 865-373-1450.
3. Joint Class
Attending this class will provide you key information regarding your joint replacement surgery. This is your
time to learn about what to expect over the next few weeks and what will help you have a successful joint
replacement. By taking an active role in preparing for and understanding your surgery, and assisting in your
recovery, you will be able to return to your lifestyle as quickly as possible.
mYour surgeon may require you to see a primary care physician or specialist to obtain medical
and/or cardiac clearance prior to your surgery.
mWhen you were scheduled for surgery, you may have received an order from your surgeon
for required for medical tests. Follow the instructions in this order and bring it with you to
Pre-Admission Testing.
mContact your insurance provider to learn about any coverage limitations, co-payment or outof-pocket expenses as well as coverage for postoperative physical therapy.
mBring an accurate list of all your medications. This includes all prescription medications and
over-the-counter(OTC) medications, vitamins and supplements you take on a regular basis
and any medication you have taken in the last month.
Insurance Card(s)
Photo ID
Advanced directives (i.e. Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney)
Any co-payment required by insurance company
This joint replacement notebook
Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is a special soap that reduces the number of bacteria on your skin. This reduces your risk for infection after surgery.
The 4 ounce bottle of CHG soap should be used for 3 showers before your surgery. Use 1/3 of the bottle for
each shower.
Take your first shower with CHG two days before your surgery date.
Take another CHG shower the day before your surgery.
Take the last CHG shower the morning of your surgery. Do not apply any lotions, creams, powders, or deodorant after your bath on the morning of surgery.
Showering Supplies Needed:
• Two clean wash cloths for each CHG shower
• Bottle of CHG soap (use 1/3 of the bottle for each shower)
• A clean towel for each CHG shower
Showering Steps
• Wash and rinse your hair using your normal shampoo.
• Wash cloth #1: Wet and lather up the wash cloth with your regular bath soap.
Bathe your face and genital area then rinse.
• Wet wash cloth #2 then turn off water.
• Apply 1/3 of the CHG soap to wash cloth #2. Lather your body from chin to toes.
(Do not apply to or around your eyes or genital area)
• Scrub CHG soap on the surgical leg for 3-5 minutes. Avoid scrubbing your skin too hard.
• Turn water back on and rinse the CHG soap off your body completely.
• Dry off by patting your surgical leg and dry off entire body.
• Use a clean, freshly laundered towel for each shower (do not re-use).
• Dress with freshly washed clothes after each shower.
Do not use regular soap after washing with the CHG soap, except to wash your face and genital area.
Do not apply any lotions or powders to your body or legs once you begin bathing process.
Do not shave the surgical site 24 hours before surgery. This could nick or cut your skin, which could increase
your risk for infection.
Discontinue use if skin becomes red or irritated. If unable to use CHG soap, Dial liquid soap may be substituted. Call your surgeons office with any questions.
Your nurses will be asking you often to “rate” your pain based on the following:
Goal: 4 or less
Pain is usually the worst on Post-Operative Day #2
One key step in pain control is to take or ask for pain relief medications when the pain first begins. It’s harder
to ease pain once it has taken hold. Good pain control will help you enjoy greater comfort as you heal. With
less pain, you can start walking, do your exercises, and get your strength back more quickly.
You must call for your pain meds.
Pain meds are available every 4 hours.
You should take your pain meds 30 mins prior to physical therapy.
Take pain meds within first two hours of arriving to your room from recovery room. Your nurse will administer
pain pills only if:
Blood Pressure is stable
You are not too sedated
You are not nauseated
Do not take pain pills on empty stomach. Eat food before you begin taking pain pills and take your nausea
medication if needed.
The nurse will write the time she administered the pain medication and what time the next dose available on
dry erase board in your room.
If 10 minutes passes after you call for your pain meds and you have not received your pain med, please call
Iron and Vitamins
Taking vitamins and iron prior to surgery can help reduce fatigue experienced after joint replacement surgery
due to blood loss. You may take an over the counter vitamin with iron and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Stop Smoking
It is essential to stop smoking before surgery. Smoking significantly increases risks of complication with
surgery. Smoking impairs circulation to your healing joint. Parkwest Medical Center is a non-smoking facility.
No smoking will be allowed during your stay. A nicotine patch may be provided at your request for the duration of your stay at Parkwest.
Stop Medications That Increase Bleeding
NSAID’s (i.e. Motrin and Naproxen), Vitamin E, and some herbal medications should be stopped seven days
before surgery. These medications may cause increase bleeding. However, Celebrex, Relafen, and Lodine are
safe to continue until surgery. If you are taking a blood thinner such as Plavix, Xarelto, Coumadin, 325mg
Aspirin, you may need special instructions for stopping the medication. Often these medications will need to
be stopped seven to 10 days prior to surgery. In most cases, 81mg aspirin may be continued prior to surgery.
You will need to ask your surgeon.
Preventing Constipation
It is very common to have constipation after surgery, especially when taking narcotic pain medicine and iron
supplements. Here are a few things you can do before surgery to prevent constipation:
• Eat a high fiber diet
o Eating more of the following foods can add fiber to your diet:
o High fiber cereals, which includes most bran cereals
o Whole grains, bran, and brown rice
o Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and greens
o Fresh fruits – apples, pears, and dried fruits like raisins and apricots
o Nuts and legumes – beans such as lentils, kidney beans and lima beans
• May add fiber by taking a fiber supplement such as Metamucil
• Increase water intake
• Begin taking an over-the-counter stool softener such as Colace two weeks prior to surgery
• Drink prune or apple juice
It is important to be as fit as possible before undergoing a total joint. Always consult your surgeon before
starting a pre-operative exercise plan. This will make your recovery much faster. Eleven exercises are shown
here that your physician may instruct you to start doing now and continue until your surgery. You should be
able to do them in 15-20 minutes and it is typically recommended that you do all of them twice a day. Consider this a minimum amount of exercise prior to your surgery.
Also, remember that your need to strengthen your entire body, not just your leg. It is very important that you
strengthen your arms by doing chair push-ups (exercise #8) because you will be relying on your arms to help
you get in and out of bed, in and out of a chair, walk, and to do your exercises postoperatively.
You may do these exercises on your bed or couch.
Stop doing any exercise that is too painful.
If exercises are too painful, reduce number of reps or intensity.
Perform 20 repetitions 2 times per day.
Hold 5-10 seconds and return to starting position.
Range of Motion and Strengthening Exercises
(1) Ankle Pumps
Flex foot. Point toes. Repeat 20 times.
(2) Quad Sets — (Knee Push-Downs)
Lie on back with operative leg straight, press knee into mat, tightening
muscles on front of thigh. Do NOT hold breath. Repeat 20 times.
(3) Gluteal Sets — (Bottom Squeezes)
Squeeze bottom together. Do NOT hold breath.
Repeat 20 times.
(4) Hip Abduction and Adduction — (Slide Heels Out and In)
Lie on back, slide legs out to side. Keep toes pointed up and knees
straight. Bring legs back to starting point. Repeat 20 times.
(5) Heel Slides — (Slide Heels Up and Down)
Lie on couch or bed. Slide heel toward your bottom.
Repeat 20 times.
(6) Short Arc Quads
Lie on back, place towel roll under thigh. Lift foot, straightening knee.
Do not raise thigh off roll. Repeat 20 times.
(7) Knee Extension — Long Arc
Sit with back against chair. Straighten knee.
Repeat 20 times.
(8) Armchair Push-Ups
This exercise will help strengthen your arms for walking with
crutches or a walker. Sit in an armchair. Place hands on armrests.
Straighten arms, raising bottom up off chair seat if possible.
Feet should be flat on floor. Repeat 20 times.
(9) Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on couch or bed with leg extended. Toes should be pointed
toward the ceiling and knee straight. Sit up straight and, if
needed, bend forward at the hips keeping back straight.
Stretch should be gentle.Hold for 20–30 seconds.
Relax. Repeat 3 times.
(10) Straight Leg Raises (for Total Knee Replacements)
Lie on back, unaffected knee bent, and foot flat. Lift opposite
leg up 12 inches. Keep knee straight and toes pointed up. Relax.
Repeat 20 times.
(11) Mini Squats (for Total Hip Replacements)
Holding on to a stable object, slightly bend knees and slowly
straighten. Repeat 20 times.
mCancel any dental appointments that fall between 4 weeks prior to surgery and 3 months after surgery.
All dental work should be completed prior to 30 days before surgery. Proper dental hygiene is essential
for good health. We may ask you to see a dentist before surgery to check for tooth or gum problems, as
germs in your mouth can travel through the bloodstream and infect the replacement joint. The dentist
may identify any dental infections or tooth decay that may develop into a dental infection, which must be
treated before total knee replacement surgery. (Tooth decay must be monitored.)
Week of:_______________________
m Attend Joint Class and Pre-Admission Testing Visit
m Start Pre-Op Exercises
m Select your Coach
m Make arrangements to have someone stay with you until you are comfortable being on your own.
mPurchase loose fitting clothing or rubber soled shoes if needed. Shoes with backs and rubber soles are
m Begin taking a multivitamin with iron
m Begin increasing fiber in your diet, i.e. Metamucil, Raisin Bran, Fruits, and Vegetables.
m Increase your water intake.
m Arrange for someone to take care of your pets or farm animals, if necessary
mContact your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare about medical equipment they will or will not
cover, i.e. walker, shower chair, bedside commode. Also, inquire about their coverage of physical therapy
after discharge.
mIf you are planning on going to a skilled nursing facility after discharge, make alternative care arrangements in case your insurance company denies skilled nursing facility physical therapy.
m Smokers…begin reducing your smoking. You will not be allowed to smoke in hospital.
Week of:_______________________
mHave enough food on hand or arrange for someone to go shopping for you. Prepare or have frozen meals
so that it will be easy to cook. Arrange your plates, pans, and kitchen utensils within easy reach.
mIn order to stay well hydrated after surgery, pick up some alternatives to water, for example: Gatorade,
Juice, or Vitamin Water
m Purchase 4x4 gauze pads and paper tape to cover your incision after you return home.
mRemove any obstacles that may cause you to trip: throw rugs, extension cords, low hanging bedspreads,
pet toys, tack down loose carpeting, etc.
m Install night lights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
mPurchase or borrow a shower bench, bedside commode, or raised toilet seat if you think these items will
be needed after your surgery. Most insurances will not pay for these. You may purchase these at Goodwill, Salvation Army, KARM, Walmart or Drug Stores. Churches often have equipment closets. Check
with local churches.
m Fill your routine prescriptions.
m Make sure you have emergency numbers programmed in your phone.
m Have a phone within easy reach with emergency numbers handy.
m Clean your home
m Do laundry and put it away
m Cut grass, tend to garden, finish any other yard work.
m Make arrangements for someone to pick you up from hospital on day of discharge.
Week of:_______________________
Medications to stop:
Meds that thin your blood. These include, but are not limited to meds like Motrin, Naproxen, etc.
Plavix, Coumadin, Lovenox, Xarelto [Ask your medical doctor and/or cardiologist before stopping]
Any anti-inflammatory medications
Any Herbal Supplements
Vitamins E, C, K etc.
Consult with your primary care physician, cardiologist or specialty physician about when to
stop prescription medications such as blood thinners, blood pressure, heart, cholesterol,
kidney, etc. Blood thinners are generally stopped 7 – 10 days before surgery, but follow the
advice of physician that has prescribed the medication.
Meds you can continue taking before surgery
• Low dose Aspirin (81mg) [Consult with your orthopedic surgeon]
• Tylenol
• Ultracet
• Glucosamine Chondroitin
• Iron Supplements
• Ultram [Tramadol]
Begin bathing with CHG soap. Remember to use clean washcloths and towels.
Change bed linens
Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
m Bathe with CHG soap. Remember to use clean washcloths and towels.
m Pack the following items:
• Loose clothing (shorts, t-shirts, sweat pants, sweat shirt, gym type clothes, culottes)
• Shoes (With a back & rubber soled preferred) No sandals or flip flops.
• Loose fitting pajamas
ygiene Items….toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, electric razor, powder, lotion, brush,
comb, Depends pads
• Lightweight robe
• Personal items (books, music, iPad, iTouch, Kindle, Laptop. Parkwest provides free Wi-Fi in patient rooms)
• CPAP machine. (Parkwest will provide water)
• List of current medications
• Joint Replacement Notebook
• Walker (if you own one and would prefer to use your own) Put your name on it
m Fill your car with gas
m Cash or credit card to pay medical equipment co-payment
m Remove acrylic nails, finger and toenail polish
m Stop smoking
m Night Before Surgery… stop eating or drinking after midnight. Take only the medications as directed by your
Pre-Admission Testing nurse or Anesthesiologist.
m Complete your CHG bath. Do not apply lotions, deodorant, or powder afterward.
m Take medications as directed by your Pre-Admission Testing nurse, anesthesiologist, or surgeon.
Take with sip of water.
m If you are a diabetic, do not take any diabetic medications or insulin on morning of the procedure,
unless otherwise instructed.
m Bring your clothes and personal items.
m Bring your Joint Replacement Notebook.
m Bring insurance card.
m Bring cash, checkbook or credit card for co-payment, if one is due.
m Arrive to the hospital 2 ½ hours before your scheduled surgery time.
m Have your car valet parked.
Do Not:
• Do not eat breakfast unless instructed otherwise.
• Do not wear valuables such as watches, jewelry, or body jewelry.
• Do not bring personal medications, except the ones instructed by pre-admission testing.
• Ladies, do not apply makeup.
• Do not wear acrylic nails, fingernail or toenail polish.
• Do not wear contacts.
Thank you for choosing Parkwest for your joint replacement surgery! Our goal is to help restore you to a
higher quality of living with your new prosthetic joint.
Primary candidates are individuals with chronic joint pain from arthritis that interferes with daily activities,
walking, exercise, leisure, recreation and work. The goals of surgery are to relieve pain, restore our independence, and return you to work and other daily activities.
Total joint replacement patients typically recover quickly. Patients will be able to walk the day of surgery.
Generally, patients are able to return to driving in two to four weeks, dancing in four to six weeks, and golf in
six to 12 weeks.
The Parkwest Joint Center has implemented a comprehensive planned course of treatment. We believe that
you play a key role in promoting a successful recovery. Our goal is to involve you in your treatment through
each step of the program. This guide will give you the necessary information to promote a more successful
surgical outcome.
Your team includes physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, certified nursing assistants
(CNA’s), nurses, orthopedic technicians, and physical and occupational therapists – all specializing in total
joint care. Every detail, from preoperative teaching to postoperative exercising, is considered and reviewed
with you.
The Joint Coordinator will be responsible for your care need from the preoperative course through discharge
and postoperative discharge follow up. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything.
Joint/Spine Center Coordinator Office
(865) 373-0091
Activities of Daily Living — Precautions and Home Safety Tips
Lying in Bed – Keep Knee Straight
Lie in bed with pillow under ankle. DO NOT put a pillow under your knee. Knee
should be kept as straight as possible. Place a small pillow under your ankle to
assist in straightening.
Lying in Bed
Figure 1: Place a pillow between your legs when lying on your back. Try to keep the surgical leg positioned
in bed so the kneecap and toes are pointed to the ceiling. Try not to let your toes roll inward or outward. A
blanket or rolled towel on the outside of leg may help you maintain this position.
Figure 2: When rolling from your back to your side, first bend your knees toward you until your feet are flat
on the bed. Then place at least two pillows (bound together) between your legs. With knees slightly bent,
squeeze the pillows together between your knees and roll onto side. Your leg may help you maintain this
When getting into bed:
• Back up to the bed until you feel it on the back of your legs (you need
to be midway between the foot and the head of the bed).
• Reaching back with both hand, sit down on the edge of the bed and
then scoot back toward the center of the mattress.
• Move your walker out of the way, but keep it within reach.
• Scoot your hips around so that you are facing the foot of the bed.
• Lift your leg into the bed while scooting around.
• Keep scooting and lift your other leg into the bed.
• Scoot your hips towards the center of the bed.
When getting out of bed:
• Scoot your hips to the edge of the bed.
• Sit up while lowering your non-surgical leg to the floor.
• Scoot to the edge of the bed.
• Use both hands to push off the bed. If the bed is too low, place one hand in the center of the walker
while pushing up off the bed with the other.
• Balance yourself before grabbing for the walker.
Standing up from chair
Do NOT pull up on the walker to stand!
Sit in a chair with arm rests when possible.
• Scoot to the front edge of the chair.
•Push up with both hands on the armrests. If sitting in a chair without armrest, place one hand on the
walker while pushing off the side of the chair with the other.
• Balance yourself before grabbing for the walker.
Remember: If you had a total hip replacement you should straighten the operative leg before sitting or standing.
Improper Method
Proper Method
Total hip patients will need to take special consideration when using a low toilet after surgery.
You may need a raised toilet seat or a three-in-one beside commode over your toilet for 12 weeks after surgery.
When sitting down on the toilet:
• Take small steps and turn until your back is to the toilet. Never pivot.
• Back up to the toilet until you feel it touch the back of your legs.
• If using a commode with armrests, reach back for both armrests and lower yourself onto the toilet. If
using a raised toilet seat without armrests, keep one hand on the walker while reaching back for the
toilet seat with the other.
• Slide your surgical leg out in front of you when sitting down.
When getting up from the toilet:
• If using a commode with armrests, use the armrests to push up. If using a raised toilet seat without
armrests, place one hand on the walker and push off the toilet seat with the other.
• Slide operated leg out in front of you when standing up.
• Balance yourself before grabbing the walker.
Raised Toilet Seat
Getting into the tub using a bath seat also known as a shower chair:
• Place the bath seat in the tub facing the faucets.
• Back up to the tub until you can feel it at the back of your knees. Be sure
you are in front of the bath seat.
• Reach back with one hand for the bath seat. Keep the other hand in
the center of the walker.
• Slowly lower yourself onto the bath seat, keeping the surgical leg
out straight.
• Move the walker out of the way, but keep it within reach.
• Lift your legs over the edge of the tub, using a leg lifter for the surgical leg, if necessary.
• Hold onto back of shower seat.
NOTE: Although bath seats, grab bars, long-handled bath brushes, and hand-held showers make bathing
easier and safer, they are typically not covered by insurance.
NOTE: ALWAYS use a rubber mat or non-skid adhesive on the bottom of the tub or shower.
NOTE: To keep soap within easy reach, make a soap-on-a-rope by placing a bar of soap in the toe of an old
pair of pantyhose and attach it to the bath seat.
Getting out of the tub using a bath seat/shower chair:
• Lift your legs over the outside of the tub.
• Scoot to the edge of the bath seat.
• Push up with one hand on the back of the bath seat while holding on to the center of the walker with the
other hand.
• Balance yourself before grabbing the walker. 40
• Push the car seat all the way back; recline it if possible, but
return it to the upright position for traveling.
• Place a plastic trash bag on the seat of the car to help you slide
and turn frontward.
• Back up to the car until you feel it touch the back of your legs.
• Reach back for the car seat and lower your-self down. Keep
your surgical leg straight out in front of you and duck your head
so that you do not hit it on the doorframe.
• Turn frontward, leaning back as you lift the operated leg into
the car.
• Move the walker forward.
• With all four walker legs firmly on the ground, step forward
with surgical leg. Place the foot in the middle of the walker
area. Do not move it past the front feet of the walker.
• Step forward with the non-surgical leg.
NOTE: DO NOT take a step until all four walker legs are flat on the
Stair Climbing
• Ascend with non-surgical leg first (up with the good).
• Descend with the surgical leg first (down with the bad).
Walker Ambulation
Using a “reacher” or “dressing stick”:
Putting on pants and underwear:
• Sit down.
• Put your surgical leg in first and then your non-surgical leg. Use a reacher or dressing stick to guide the
waist band over your foot.
• Pull your pants up over the knees, within easy reach.
• Stand with the walker in front of you to pull your pants up the rest of the way.
Taking off pants and underwear:
• Back up to the chair or bed where you will be undressing.
• Unfasten your pants and let them drop to the floor. Push your underwear down to your knees.
• Lower yourself down, keeping your surgical leg out straight.
• Take your non-surgical leg out first and then the surgical leg.
• A reacher or dressing stick can help you remove your pants from your foot and off the floor.
• Slide the sock on the sock aid.
• Hold the cord and drop the sock aid in front of your foot.
It is easier to do this if your knee is bent.
• Slip your foot into the sock aid.
• Straighten your knee, point your toe and pull the sock on.
Keep pulling until the sock aid pulls out.
Reacher or Dressing Stick
If using a long-handled shoehorn:
• Use your reacher, dressing stick, or long-handled shoehorn to
slide your shoe in front of your foot.
• Place the shoehorn inside the shoe against the back of the
heel. Have the curve of the shoehorn match the curve of your
• Lean back, if necessary, as you lift your leg and place your toes
in your shoe.
• Step down into your shoe, sliding your heel down the shoehorn.
NOTE: Wear sturdy slip-on shoes, or shoes with Velcro closures or elastic shoe laces. DO NOT wear highheeled shoes or shoes without backs.
Your surgeon may visit you early on the morning of discharge and tell you that you are discharged. This does
not mean you will leave the hospital within next hour or two for the following reasons:
medical doctor may also see you while you are in the hospital and must discharge you in addition to
the orthopedic surgeon. The medical doctor orders the medications you will go home on and evaluates
your final lab work.
e have to wait on pre-cert from your insurance company if you are going to skilled nursing facility.
This can take a whole day or more.
• We’re waiting on the skilled nursing facility to discharge patients.
• If medical equipment has been ordered for you, may have to wait on delivery.
he discharge nurse has to prepare your discharge papers. There could be as many as 20 other patients
discharging on same day as you. Please be patient!
Things you can do to help on discharge day…..
m Plan on participating in both of your physical therapy sessions on the day of discharge, unless physical
m Pack your bags in the morning. Do not wait until transport arrives to begin packing up.
m Communicate the night before discharge with the person who will be driving you home.
therapy tells you differently or discharge nurse gives you your discharge papers.
Things to know…..
Home Health… a hospital case manager will arrange for home health physical therapy.
Outpatient Therapy… if your surgeon’s office has not already arranged your outpatient physical therapy
appointment, then your hospital case manager will make those arrangements.
Skilled Nursing Facility… a hospital case manager will arrange for skilled nursing facility if you meet criteria.
Some nursing facilities require a reservation. Check with the nursing facility you are interested in to see if
they require a reservation.
• Criteria:
o If you are progressing slowly and meet criteria for nursing facility placement
o If you live alone and have no one to care for you
• The decision to go home or to skilled nursing facility will be made collectively by…
o You
o Surgeon
o Physical Therapist
o Case Manager
o Mostly by your insurance company
Please note… although you may desire to go to skilled nursing facility when you are
discharged, your progress will be monitored by your insurance company while you are
in the hospital. Upon evaluation of your progress, you will either meet the criteria to
benefit from skilled nursing or your insurance may recommend you return home. Every
attempt will be made to have a decision from your insurance company prior to the day of
discharge. There is a possibility your insurance company may deny you going to skilled
nursing facility on day of discharge.
• You will need someone to drive you to skilled nursing facility
• Your primary care physician or a physician from skilled nursing facility will be caring for you in consultation with your surgeon.
• Your length of stay is based on your progress, but normally is a seven to 10 day stay.
• Upon discharge home from skilled nursing facility, instructions will be given to you by their nursing staff.
• If any equipment is needed at home, the skilled nursing facility case manager will order for you.
Please keep in mind that the majority of our patients go home. Risk of complication is decreased by returning
home versus going to a nursing facility. Also keep in mind that insurance companies do not become involved in
social issues, such as lack of caregiver, animals, etc. These are issues you will have to address before admission.
Caring For Yourself at Home
When you go home, there are a variety of things you need to know for your safety, your recovery, and your comfort.
• Do not drive while on narcotics.
• Do not drive until approved by your surgeon (typically two to four weeks).
• Do not drink alcohol while taking pain medication.
• Do not kneel on knee(s).
• Do not place pillows directly under knee(s) while lying in bed or sitting in chair.
Control Your Discomfort
• Take your pain medicine at least 30 minutes before physical therapy.
• Gradually wean yourself from prescription medication to a non-prescription pain reliever. You may take
two extra-strength Tylenol analgesic in place of your prescription medication up to three times per day.
• Do Not take Tylenol with Percocet (Oxycodone) or Lortab (Hydrocodone) as both contain Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Total Tylenol dosage not to exceed (4000mg) in a 24 hour period.
• If you are on a blood thinner (i.e. Coumadin, Xarelto, Lovenox) do not take any product that contains
Aspirin. This can increase your risk of bleeding while on a blood thinner.
• Do Not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications for pain or swelling (Ex: Aleve,
Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin, etc.) until after your blood thinner has been stopped. These medications can
increase your risk for bleeding.
• Change your position every 45 minutes throughout the day.
• Ice or use your Polar Care machine for pain control. Applying ice to your affected joint will decrease
discomfort and swelling, but do not use for more than 20 minutes each hour. You can use it before and
after your exercise program.
o For instructions on how to properly use your Polar Ice machine you may go to the following website:
o For problems with your Polar Care Machine, contact Breg’s Product Support at 1-800-321-0607
• Knee replacement patients may elevate their leg 15-30 minutes four to five times daily while awake to
help reduce pain. You should keep your ankle above your knee and your knee above your heart.
• Swelling and Soreness will decrease over six to 12 weeks.
• You may not have a normal bowel movement for three to four days after surgery.
• Continue to take a stool softener [Colace or Senokot] while you continue to take pain meds.
• If you do not have a bowel movement, take one of the following: Milk of Magnesia, Miralax, Magnesium
Citrate or a Dulcolax Suppository.
Sleep Position
• Knee Replacement: Sleep with your leg straight. You may place a pillow underneath your ankle, but
not underneath your calf or knee.
• Hip Replacement: You may sleep in any position that you find comfort. If you sleep on your side, place a
pillow between your knees.
Body Changes
• Your appetite may be poor for a while poor. This is normal. Your desire for solid food will return.
• Drink plenty of fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.
• You may have difficulty sleeping, which is normal. Do not sleep or nap too much during the day.
• Your energy level will be decreased. Total recuperation may take three months or longer.
• Pain medication that contains narcotics promotes constipation. Increase your fiber and fluid intake and
use stool softeners or laxatives, if necessary.
• You may run a low-grade fever (100 - 101°)
• You may hear some clicking in your knee. This is normal.
• You may place as much weight as tolerated on operative leg(s) unless otherwise instructed by your
• The first two weeks following surgery are critical to achieving full flexion (bending) and extension
(straightening) of your knee.
• Perform physical therapy exercises as instructed by your physical therapist while you were in the hospital. These should be performed in addition to your home or outpatient therapy.
• You will have home or outpatient physical therapy usually three times a week for four weeks or longer. The number of times per week and for how long will be determined based on your surgeon’s protocol. If you have both
knees replaced you will go to an inpatient nursing facility for one to two weeks.
• No high impact, repetitive exercises such as jumping or running.
Weeks 1 and 2
Weeks 2 to 4
to more
Even if receiving
outpatient PT be
very faithful to
home exercises.
3 Continue with walker unless otherwise instructed
3 Walk at least 500-700 feet with support
3 Climb and descend a flight of stairs (12-14 steps) with a rail once a day
3 Actively bend knee at least 100°
3 Straighten knee completely
3 Independently sponge bath or shower and dress
320 minutes of home exercises twice a day, with or without the therapist. Refer to the
3 Achieve 1 to 2 week goals
3 Wean from walker to cane should you need one
3 Begin weaning off narcotics
3 Walk at least on quarter mile
3 Climb and descend a flight of stairs (12-14 steps) more than once daily
3 Bend your knee more than 90°
3 Straighten knee completely
3 Independently shower and dress
3Do 20 minutes of home exercises twice a day with or without therapist. Refer to
postoperative exercises section.
postoperative exercise section
3 Begin driving if left knee had surgery & off narcotics
Weeks 4 to 6
Weeks 4 to 6 will
see much more
Home exercise
program will
be even more
important as you
receive less supervised therapy.
3 Achieve 1 to 4 week goals
3 Walk independently or with cane if needed
3 Walk one quarter of a mile to one half mile
3Begin progressing on stair from one foot at a time to regular stair-climbing (foot over
3 Actively bend knee 110°
3 Straighten knee completely
3 Drive a car (either right or left knee surgery), with surgeon’s approval
3 Should be weaned off narcotics
3Continue with home exercise program twice a day. Refer to postoperative exercise
Weeks 6 to 12
During weeks 6
to 12 you should
be able to begin
resuming all of
your activities
Achieve 1 to 6 week goals
Walk independently with no limp
Climb and descend stairs in normal fashion (foot over foot)
Walk one half to one mile
Bend knee to 120°
Straighten knee completely
Improve strength to 80%
Resume activities including dancing, bowling, and golf.
Weeks 1 and 2
3 Continue with walker unless otherwise instructed
3 Walk at least 500-700 feet with support
3 Climb and descend a flight of stairs (12-14 steps) with a rail once a day
3 Actively bend your hip at least 60°
3 Straighten hip completely
3 Independently sponge bath or shower and dress
320 minutes of home exercises twice a day, with or without the therapist. Refer to
3 Achieve 1 to 2 week goals
3 Wean from walker to cane should you need one
3 Begin weaning off narcotics
3 Walk at least on quarter mile
3 Climb and descend a flight of stairs (12-14 steps) more than once daily
3 Bend your hip to 90° unless otherwise instructed
3 Independently shower and dress
3Do 20 minutes of home exercises twice a day with or without therapist. Refer to
3 Begin driving if left hip had surgery & off narcotics
Weeks 4 to 6
Weeks 4 to 6 will
see much more
Home exercise
program will
be even more
important as
you receive
less supervised
3 Achieve 1 to 4 week goals
3 Walk independently or with cane if needed
3 Walk one quarter of a mile to one half mile
3Begin progressing on stair from one foot at a time to regular stair-climbing (few stairs at
a time).
3 Actively bend hip
3 Drive a car with surgeon’s approval
3 Should be weaned off narcotics
3Continue with home exercise program twice a day. Refer to postoperative exercise
Weeks 6 to 12
During weeks 6
to 12 you should
be able to begin
resuming all of
your activities
Weeks 2 to 4
to more
Even if receiving
outpatient PT be
very faithful to
home exercises.
postoperative exercise section
postoperative exercise section.
Achieve 1 to 6 week goals
Walk independently with no limp
Climb and descend stairs in normal fashion (foot over foot)
Walk one half to one mile
Improve strength to 80%
Resume activities including dancing, bowling, and golf.
Showering… when can I shower?
• You may begin showering one to four days after surgery.
• Some patient’s incisions will be covered with a water repellent dressing.
• If your incision covered with a telfa island dressing or steri-strips, the incision must be covered.
• Do not shower if you are weak or dizzy.
• Have someone close by when you shower, you may need assistance.
Caring for Your Incision
• S
taples….If you have staples, they will be removed two weeks after your surgery at your follow up appointment. Some surgeons may use steri-strips or glue on your incision.
• Depending on your surgeon, you may have steri-strips or a special dressing that will cover your incision. Upon discharge you will be educated on how to care for your incision and showering instructions.
Remember to always wash your hands prior to touching your incision area.
Bruising, swelling, soreness, and numbness is normal….expect it for four to six weeks after surgery!
Signs of Infection
• Area around incision is hot to touch
• Increased swelling and redness at incision site
• Swelling that does not respond to ice and elevation
• Increased drainage from incision site
• Change in color, amount, and odor of drainage
• Increase in pain and feeling of tightness around the knee
• Pain not controlled by medication
• A consistent fever greater than 101°F
Prevention of Infection
• Notify your physician and dentist that you have a joint replacement.
• Do not touch your incision
• Do not submerge your leg in water
What do I do if I think I am developing an infection?
• Do not go to the emergency room for treatment of infection type symptoms.
• During normal business hours call your surgeon’s office.
• After normal business hours call your surgeon’s after-hours clinic. They provide you the convenience of
professional orthopedic care after normal business hours. Walk-ins are welcome and no appointments are
necessary. After-hours clinics offers you the peace of mind that you only get from seeing a true orthopedic
professional who is trained in diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions.
• Some surgeons may not have an after-hours clinic. Check with your surgeon’s office.
Other Reasons to notify your surgeon or be seen at their after-hours clinic
• Pain not controlled by pain medications
• Inability to bear weight on your surgical leg
• Foot that has no sensation and a discolored appearance
• Confusion and disorientation
If you are experiencing shortness of breath or
chest pain call 911 or go to Emergency Room immediately.
Blood Clots in Legs
Surgery may cause the blood to slow and coagulate in the veins of your legs, creating a blood clot. This is
why you take blood thinners after surgery. If a clot occurs despite preventative measures, you may need
to be admitted to the hospital to receive intravenous blood thinners. Notify your surgeon if you experience
signs or symptoms of a blood clot.
Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners)
You will be given a blood thinner to help avoid blood clots in your legs. You will need to take it for two to six
weeks, depending on your individual situation. Be sure to take the medicine as directed by your surgeon.
If you are prescribed Coumadin upon discharge, the amount you take may change, depending on how much
your blood thins. Therefore, it will be necessary to do weekly blood tests to determine the proper dose for
Signs of blood clots in legs
• Swelling in thigh, calf, or ankle that does not go down with elevation.
• Pain, heat, and tenderness in calf, back of knee or groin area.
NOTE: blood clots can form in either leg.
Prevention of blood clots
• Ankle pumps
• Walking
• Blood thinners such as Coumadin, Lovenox, Xarelto, or Aspirin
ou may be sent home with special stockings (TED Hose). These stockings are used to help compress the veins
in your legs. This helps to keep swelling down and reduces the chance for blood clots. You should wear the stockings for four weeks after surgery.
Pulmonary Embolus
An unrecognized blood clot could break away from the vein and travel to the lungs. This is an emergency and you
should CALL 911 if suspected.
Signs of a pulmonary embolus
• Sudden chest pain
• Difficult and/or rapid breathing
• Shortness of breath
• Sweating
• Confusion
Prevention of pulmonary embolus
• Prevent blood clot in legs by use of blood thinners and ankle pumps
• Recognize a blood clot in leg and call physician promptly
• Early ambulation after surgery
Do NOT get down on your knees to scrub floors. Use a mop and long- handles brushes.
Plan ahead! Gather all your cooking supplies at one time. Then, sit to prepare your meal.
Place frequently used cooking supplies and utensils where they can be reached without too much bending or
To provide a better working height, use a high stool, or put cushions on your chair when preparing meals.
Do NOT get down on your knees to scrub bathtub. Use a mop or other long-handled brushes.
Safety and Avoiding Falls
Pick up throw rugs and tack down loose carpeting. Cover slippery surfaces with carpets that are firmly anchored to the
floor or that have non-skid backs.
Be aware of all floor hazards such as pets, small objects, or uneven surfaces.
Provide good lighting throughout. Install nightlights in the bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
Keep extension cords and telephone cords out of pathways. Do NOT run wires under rugs, this is a fire hazard.
Do NOT wear open-toe slippers or shoes without backs. They do not provide adequate support and can lead to slips
and falls.
Sit in chairs with arms. It makes it easier to get up.
Rise slowly from either a sitting or lying position to avoid getting light-headed.
Do not lift heavy objects for the first three months and then only with your surgeon’s permission.
• Whether they have reached all the recommended goals in three months or not, all joint patients need to have
a regular exercise program to maintain their fitness and the health of the muscles around their joints.
• With both your orthopedic and primary care physicians’ permission you should be on a regular exercise
program three to four times per week lasting 20-30 minutes.
• Impact activities such as running and singles tennis may put too much load on the joint and are not
• High–risk activities such as downhill skiing are likewise discouraged because of the risk of fractures
around the prosthesis and damage to the prosthesis itself.
• I nfections are always a potential problem and you may need antibiotics for prevention. Although the
risks are very low for postoperative infections, it is important to realize that the risk remains. A prosthetic joint could possible attract the bacteria from an infection located in another part of your body.
If you should develop a fever of more than 101°F, or sustain an injury such as a deep cut or puncture
wound, you should clean it as best you can, put a sterile dressing or an adhesive bandage on it and notify your doctor. The closer the injury is to your prosthesis, the greater the concern. Occasionally, antibiotics may be needed. Superficial scratches may be treated with topical antibiotic ointment. Notify your
doctor if the area is painful or reddened.
hen traveling, stop and change positions hourly to prevent your joint from tightening and perform
ankle pumps.
• See your surgeon yearly unless otherwise recommended.
Dental Care and Total Joint Replacement
For the first two years after total joint replacement, you will need to take antibiotics before any dental work,
including cleanings. You will need an antibiotic to take one hour before your dental cleaning or any other
invasive procedure. Call your surgeon’s office and we will call in the first prescription for you. Some patients
require lifelong antibiotics prior to cleanings. Consult with your orthopedic surgeon. We suggest delaying
any dental work for at least three months after total joint replacement.
Antibiotics should be taken before the following procedures also:
Liver Biopsy
Genitourinary Instrumentation
Prostate and bladder surgery
Kidney Surgery
Vaginal Exams and gynecological surgery
Barium Enema
Contact your surgeon’s office to obtain the antibiotic.
Do not schedule any of the above appointments starting four weeks prior to surgery and up until 3
months after surgery. This is a lifelong precaution.
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