Joint replacement surgery has become a common solution for individuals suffering from joint pain, arthritis, and other joint-related conditions. Total joint replacement surgery is a complex procedure that requires careful planning and preparation. The surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia and can take anywhere from one to three hours.
What is Total Joint Replacement Surgery?
Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the worn, damaged surfaces of the joint are removed and replaced with new artificial parts. Your doctor may consider a joint replacement if you have severe pain which limits daily activities and is not relieved with medications, injections, physical therapy, or other treatments.
The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the alignment and function of your joint. Joint replacement provides the most dramatic relief of arthritis pain available to patients. Traditionally, joint replacement has been an inpatient surgical procedure. With the introduction of minimally invasive techniques, modern pain relief protocols, improved anesthetic techniques, and rapid rehabilitation, surgeons can perform total joint replacement procedures on an outpatient basis.
At UnaSource Surgery Center we offer outpatient joint replacement. With outpatient joint replacement, patients are provided with the support of a visiting nurse and follow-up rehabilitation services. Patients can often return to normal activities quicker and with less pain than with traditional joint replacement surgery.
Other advantages of outpatient joint replacement include:
- Rapid recovery
- Decreased hospital stay
- Improved pain management protocols
- Early mobilization
- Careful home monitoring
- Fewer complications
- Improved outcomes
- Increased patient satisfaction
Preparation for Total Joint Replacement Surgery
Before your scheduled surgery date, make sure to get housekeeping, shopping, and laundry completed. You will want to make sure your household has no clutter on the floors, a clean supply of bath towels, and prepared meals in advance. These are just some of the designated tasks to be completed, to learn more about preparing for your recovery at home, please visit our knee & hip replacement surgery page and download our PDF booklet to help guide you on your joint replacement experience.
Day Before Surgery:
UnaSource Surgery Center will call between 3-5 pm the day before your surgery to notify you of your arrival time. For those having surgery on a Monday, this call will be made on the Friday prior to your surgery date. You are typically asked to arrive at UnaSource Surgery Center 2 hours prior to your scheduled surgery time. During this phone call, the UnaSource team member will review medication instructions, let you know when to stop eating and drinking, and answer any questions you may have.
What to Expect During Your Total Joint Replacement Surgery
Total joint replacement surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which means you’ll be asleep and won’t feel any pain during the procedure. The surgeon will make an incision over the joint and remove the damaged bone and cartilage. The new joint components will then be inserted and secured in place. The incision will be closed with sutures or staples.
Here are some things to keep in mind during the surgery:
- Length of the procedure: The length of the procedure will depend on the joint being replaced and can range from one to three hours.
- Pain management: You’ll be given pain medication to help manage any discomfort you may experience after the surgery.
- Physical therapy: You’ll begin physical therapy soon after the surgery to help you regain your strength and range of motion.
As with any major surgery, there are several potential complications related to joint replacement surgery. The general risks of joint replacement surgery include: heart attack, stroke, infection, pneumonia, bleeding, blood clot, urinary dysfunction, and nerve or blood vessel damage. This list is not all-inclusive, speak with your doctor to learn more.
Aftercare and Recovery
Physical therapy is an important aspect of the recovery process, as it helps to improve mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
Most patients can return to their daily activities within a few weeks to a few months after the procedure, although strenuous activities such as running may need to be avoided for several months. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions for your individual recovery process.
Follow Safety Guidelines for Moving Around
The peripheral nerve block you received from the anesthesiologist will cause numbness and possible weakness in your surgical leg. To help prevent falls, it is important that you are cautious when moving around and that you always use your walker.
- Wear non-skid shoes
- Keep the knee brace on every time you are walking
- Always ambulate with the walker
Plan on using the walker for 1 – 3 weeks after surgery and then a cane for the next 6 – 8 weeks. Remember to use the sequential compression device whenever you are not up and walking. Do NOT walk with the sequential device wraps on your calves – they will slip down to your ankles and create a fall hazard.
Great news! Total joint replacement surgery is a highly effective procedure that can provide significant relief from joint pain and improve your overall mobility. The surgery involves replacing a damaged or worn-out joint with an artificial one and is typically done under general anesthesia.
Although recovery time can vary, it typically takes several weeks to a few months, and physical therapy is a key component of the healing process. While there are some risks associated with any surgical procedure, following your doctor’s post-operative care instructions closely and reporting any concerns promptly can help minimize these risks.
Remember, the goal of the surgery is to improve your quality of life, and you are on your way to feeling better than ever!