What to Expect After Surgery

Joint replacement surgery is a highly effective method of replacing damaged cartilage with artificial components. While patients report a dramatic surge in their ability to remain active and mobile following joint replacement, there can be a significant recovery period. Knowing what to expect can go a long way towards an effective recovery.

Joint replacement recovery

Directly following surgery, you will be woken up in a recovery room. During this time, there may be a drain to collect fluid from surgery to prevent it from building up around the joint. You will have intravenous antibiotics and medication to control pain. Additionally, you will likely have a compression garment on your leg to promote blood circulation and prevent blood clots. Finally, you will likely have a catheter so you do not have to get out of bed to urinate.

Depending on your case, Dr. Goyal may recommend the use of a continuous passive motion machine. This device will move your hip or knee around to keep it flexible and mobile. This can be used during the first hours after surgery as well as weeks following surgery.

During the first few days following surgery, you will still be taking medication to help with any pain that is lingering. Additionally, you will work with a physical therapist to ensure the hip or knee is being moved and exercised appropriately. Rehabilitation following a hip or knee replacement is crucial, as it allows your body to adapt to the new implant. The primary goal of rehab is to allow your hip or knee to bend at least 90 degrees, which is enough to do daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs and getting in and out of a car.

Following joint replacement surgery, patients typically go home after a few days or a week. It is a point of pride that many of Dr. Goyal’s patients are actually able to go home the same day as their surgery. This is due to Dr. Goyal’s minimally invasive procedures and muscle sparing technique. This applies to both hip and knee replacement. Once patients go home, the recovery process continues.

Continued recovery

Long-term use of your new hip or knee implant depends greatly upon the care that is taken in the months following surgery. Dr. Goyal will provide specific instructions for care, helping you to ensure that your body reaches full physical capacity.

Once you go home, keep an eye on the surgical site. Your incision will require care, such as cleaning and redressing, and Dr. Goyal’s office will provide instructions on how to do this properly. Additionally, watch your general health following surgery. If there is any redness or drainage from the incision, call our office immediately and we will assist you. It is also recommended that you check your temperature twice a day. Call us if you have a fever over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rehab and physical therapy will continue once you go home. This will continue until you have regained maximum range of motion of your knee or hip and are able to operate completely independently. Most patients achieve total rehabilitation within several months following surgery.

In addition to physical therapy, you will be prescribed an exercise program. This will include short walks and other mild activities. If there is any soreness, you should cut down the gradient and apply a cold pack, but don’t stop completely. Continued movement is vital to a full recovery.

Most importantly, the office of Dr. Goyal is on call during your recovery period. If there is any trouble, we want to know about it. Any questions or concerns will be addressed rapidly, and if you even want to come by and see us, that will be encouraged. However, we will not simply wait for complications to see you—after your surgery, you will be asked to schedule follow-up appointments so Dr. Goyal can monitor the recovery process.

Life with a hip or knee replacement

Even once you have returned to your full physical capacity, it is important to remain vigilant and active. This will help you retain your strength, flexibility and endurance for many years following surgery. Dr. Goyal will continue to see you from time to time to ensure that the implant remains healthy. At any point following your surgery, his office will be available as a resource for any questions or worries that may arise. At the office of Dr. Goyal, our first priority is our patients’ well-being. Please call us to find out how we can help.

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