The Month Before Surgery
- Schedule a pre-operative visit – All patients are required to have a pre-operative physical examination performed by their primary care physician prior to surgery. This will include routine blood work and urinalysis. Patients over the age of 50 are required to have an EKG and chest x-ray performed. Patients under the age of 50 with any cardiac or respiratory history may also be required to have these tests performed.These tests need to be performed within 30 days or 7 days of your surgery depending on what hospital your surgery is at. Rebecca will give you the details of this when you schedule your total joint surgery. Bring a written list of past surgeries and current medications including dosages you normally take at home. Please be advised that if an abnormal exam or test result is reported, a further evaluation or repeat testing may be required. This does not necessarily mean surgery is canceled, but for your own safety, it is standard procedure to conduct further investigation.
- Make physical therapy appointments – If you are having a total knee replacement you will need physical therapy for several weeks following your surgery. You should make your therapy appointments prior to your surgery. Your first therapy appointment should be made for the week after surgery. You will see the physical therapist 2-3 times a week for the first few weeks after surgery. As you progress in therapy you will see the therapist less often.
- Plan for post-surgery rehabilitative careTotal joint replacement patients may need help at home for the first few weeks, including assistance bathing, dressing, preparing meals and with transportation. If you can’t arrange for someone to help you at home, you may need to stay in a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility. A medical social worker at the hospital can assist with these arrangements. If you have a skilled nursing facility in mind you should call the facility to put your name on a list to reserve a room after your surgery. Not all facilities have a list to reserve rooms. You will find a list of a few skilled nursing facilities on our Useful Links page.
- Review medications – You should discontinue some medications prior to surgery. This includes some over-the-counter, prescription medications and herbal supplements that may thin the blood. These medications include but are not limited to: aspirin, ibuprofen, aleve, naprosyn/naproxen, Coumadin, and plavix. Prescription medication should be discontinued under the direction of your primary care physician. Over the counter medications should be discontinued 5 days prior to surgery.
- Attend a Pre-Operative Class – Each hospital offers a pre-operative total joint class in which you and your family members can attend. At this class you will receive instructions for each phase of your surgical experience. The classes are held on a rotating weekly schedule for total hip and total knee patients and are highly recommended. By attending class, both you and your family are better able to plan for your upcoming surgical experience. Contact the hospital for further details about the pre-operative class.