What to expect leading up to your joint replacement surgery
After your visit with Dr. Yenna, and once your have decided to undergo a joint replacement surgery, you will be asked to have an EKG, undergo basic lab testing including screening for low blood count (anemia), and also screen for MRSA bacteria and receive a COVID-19 test. Much of this can be completed the week before surgery at the hospital.
We offer a “joint replacement education class” at the hospital two times per month, they are very informative and give you’re an opportunity to speak with nurses, therapists, and anesthesiologists regarding your procedure and recovery.
We also ask you visit with your primary care provider to undergo a pre-operative evaluation and make sure you are healthy and ready for surgery.
Typically, patients cannot eat or drink anything beginning at midnight the day of your surgery. Exceptions include small sips of water for medications.
Most patient’s will be asked to discontinue any vitamin supplements, anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, aleve, etc), and most blood thinner medications approximately a week before surgery. Continue taking blood pressure and cholesterol medications, and it’s OK to take aspirin through surgery.
You will arrive the morning of your surgery date, typically 1.5 to 2 hours prior to the surgery time.
Your pre-operative nurse will provide a gown to change into, start an IV in your arm, and provide some pre-operative pain medications.
Dr. Yenna and the anesthesiologist will visit you prior to surgery to confirm the procedure, mark the operative site, answer any questions, and speak with your family.
Often, we like to use spinal anesthetic for surgery. This makes you numb from your belly-button down to allow surgery to be performed, but does not require you receive general anesthesia where a machine assists in your breathing. Medications are provided through your IV so that you take a comfortable nap for the procedure. Benefits for you include less grogginess and nausea in the post-operative period. The spinal anesthesia typically lasts 3 or 4 hours.
For a first-time hip or knee replacement patients, the procedure time is often about 60 – 90 minutes. The time from which you will be away from your family is usually a bit longer – this includes time to go to the OR, undergo anesthesia, be placed on the operative table and have everything cleaned and draped, perform the procedure, and then reverse the whole process. Expect approximately 2.5 to 3 hours total time.
Dr. Yenna will speak to the family either in person or by telephone once the procedure is completed.
Most patient’s stay in the post-operative recovery area (PACU) for 30 to 60 minutes, after which they are transferred to the floor unit.
Once spinal anesthesia wears off, patients will visit with an occupational and physical therapist. You will walk around the nursing floor the day of surgery to begin your recovery!
Patients are permitted visitors on the floor after surgery, but often we ask you limit duration of the visit secondary to COVID-19 concerns.
Patients will stay in a quiet, single-occupancy room as they recover.
Therapists from Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy will see them twice per day to work on your recovery.
Many patients stay one night for hip replacement surgery, or two nights for knee replacement surgery, after which they will return home with a home health care service.
Patients that wish to discharge to a skilled nursing facility usually are required to stay for three nights secondary to insurance requirements.
Ask family and friends for help in the post-operative period, especially the first two weeks! They will be instrumental to your recovery.