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What to Expect After a Joint Replacement

What to Expect After a Joint Replacement

Joint replacement surgery is a procedure in which a damaged joint is replaced with an artificial one. Joint replacements are typically not recommended until non-surgical options have failed to relieve your symptoms or the pain significantly affects your quality of life. This surgery is usually suggested for people with severe arthritis or other joint problems that cause debilitating pain and limit mobility. 

Types of Joint Replacements

At Motion Orthopaedics, our surgeons offer numerous types of joint replacements to help restore our patients’ quality of life. The joint replacements that our practice provides include: 

  • Total Hip Replacement
  • Shoulder Joint Replacement
  • Artificial Finger Joint Replacement
  • Unicondylar Knee Replacement

If you are planning to have joint replacement surgery, it’s crucial to be aware of what to expect from your procedure. 

What to Expect from Your Joint Replacement

Before Your Joint Replacement 

Before your joint replacement surgery, your surgeon will conduct a preoperative evaluation to ensure that you’re healthy enough for the procedure. Many patients are unaware that their preoperative health plays a significant role in their ability to recover from surgery. You may be instructed to complete physical therapy, which involves strengthening exercises and stretches.

Before your surgery, your surgeon is likely to ask you to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. You will also be asked to avoid eating or drinking anything at least eight hours before your procedure. In addition, it is essential to find someone who can be with you on the day of your surgery so they can drive you home and help you with everyday tasks while you recover.

During Your Joint Replacement 

During your procedure, you will be given general anesthesia that allows you to stay asleep for the duration of the surgery. Depending on which joint you have replaced, you may also receive regional anesthesia that numbs the entire area to help with pain management when you wake up. Once your anesthesia has been administered, the surgeon will make the necessary incisions in your skin and replace the damaged joint with an artificial one.  

After Your Joint Replacement

Most joint replacements are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you will be able to go home on the day of surgery. When you wake up from your procedure, it is normal to feel some pain and discomfort.

Your doctor will likely prescribe pain management options to help alleviate any severe pain. You may also require the use of an assistive walking device if you have received a joint replacement for your lower body. 

Benefits of Physical Therapy After a Joint Replacement

After your joint replacement, an essential component of your healing process will be physical therapy. Physical therapy can provide a myriad of benefits for those healing from a joint recovery, including: 

  • Enhances mobility 
  • Stimulates blood circulation 
  • Increases flexibility 
  • Reduces pain 
  • Strengthens muscles 
  • Improves balance
  • Decreases scar tissue

Along with physical therapy, it’s highly beneficial for your recovery to partake in other low-risk activities to expedite the healing process. Remember that you need to be cleared by your physician before trying the following activities: 

  • Cycling
  • Yoga 
  • Swimming 
  • Walking
  • Zumba
  • Golf

You will need to wait longer to resume other high-impact exercises that can cause considerable stress on your joints, like contact sports, running, and weight-lifting. 

How to Prevent Postoperative Infection 

While recovering, you need to ensure that you take adequate care of your incision site. Make sure to keep your incisions dry to prevent the development of any infection. If you have stitches or staples at the incision site, these will be removed about two weeks following the procedure. 

Don’t forget to monitor for and be aware of signs of infection, such as: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Persistent fever
  • Increased pain or stiffness 
  • Wound drainage 
  • Increased redness or tenderness 
  • Shaking chills 
  • Warmth to the touch at the incision site 
  • Swelling 

It is crucial to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions during your recovery, which can help ensure a successful outcome and lower the risk of complications and infection. 

Explore Your Joint Replacement Options at Motion Orthopaedics 

At Motion Orthopaedics, we understand how difficult it can be to make the decision to get a joint replacement. Motion is here to answer any questions that you may have and allow you to get the treatment you deserve. Book an appointment to learn more about our joint replacement procedures. 

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