KNEE AND HIP SURGERY OUTCOMES, WHAT TO EXPECT
If you’re scheduled for hip or knee replacement, you deserve to know what’s going to happen every step of the way. We will take time to explain everything to you throughout the process and will answer any questions you may have.
Although each patient is unique, typically, here is what you can expect.
PRIOR TO YOUR FIRST VISIT
When you make your appointment, our staff will explain what you’ll need to bring with you to your first visit – including paperwork, any prior X-rays, and test results. Be sure to schedule your appointment for a time that works for you. If you’re coming from out of the area, we will find a convenient time that allows for travel. If you prefer to arrive the night before your appointment, we can recommend accommodations near our office.
INITIAL HIP OR KNEE EVALUATION
During your appointment, our evaluation will focus on your affected joint and how your condition impacts your daily life in terms of pain and function. If you have had previous treatment/evaluation of this condition, we will also review these records with you.
We have the ability to take x-rays in our office if these have not been done, or if additional views are required. If other testing is needed, we prefer to use Holland Hospital, but will work with you to find a convenient location for these to be done.
We will also review your general medical condition, as well as any mental or social concerns that may influence your preparation for, and recovery from, joint replacement surgery.
Putting this information together helps to create an appropriate and personalized treatment plan.
Ensuring that your general health and wellness is at is best decreases your risk for complications and helps to ensure a good outcome. We may set some specifics goals for things like weight, smoking cessation, and blood sugar control as science shows this decreases risk for complications. You will work with our surgical scheduler to schedule any necessary evaluations or appointments to ensure these goals are met.
You will be enrolled in Recovery Coach, an online guide to provide information and timelines for your surgical experience, both before and after surgery.
You will receive a guidebook that will serve as your reference for planning preparation and what to expect each step of the way.
Your will also connect with the joint replacement nurse navigator at Holland Hospital to ensure that you and we have all the necessary information to help you plan for your surgical experience and recovery at home.
This preparation phase is likely the most important step for ensuring a good outcome!
Most people are in the hospital overnight, and some will be able to discharge the same day. During your short hospital stay, you will apply what you’ve learned through Recovery Coach and the guidebook, and reinforce what to do as you recover at home.
Physical therapy is an important part of both your preparation for, and recovery from, surgery. Most of the exercise are home-based. The guidebook and Recovery Coach include a series of exercises to begin as soon as the decision for surgery is made to tone and strengthen the muscles needed for recovery.
Our knee replacement patients will also connect with a physical therapist before surgery, to document your current state and prepare you for the work needed after surgery to ensure a good outcome. Most will attend physical therapy 2 times per week for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery in addition to their home exercise program.
Physical therapy looks different for our hip replacement patients. The preop and postop home exercise program, along with regular walking, is the only therapy needed in the first 2-6 weeks. After that, if there are still deficits, we can arrange for a visit with a therapist convenient for you to advance your exercise program and help you achieve your goals.
RECOVERY AT HOME
Your main focus for the first two weeks is your home exercise program, short walks, and rest/elevation of your leg. Easing back into more activity than this takes time and patience!
This is also a key part of your post-operative pain management. We use a multi-modal program for pain management, using as little opioid medication as we can to keep you pain at a manageable level through these early weeks of recovery.
RETURNING TO REGULAR ACTIVITIES
Beyond the first two weeks, you will start to participate in additional activities around the house and then beyond as your pain, strength and confidence allow. This pace is different for everyone. Though the majority of recovery takes place in the first 6 weeks, full recovery from hip surgery takes 6-12 months, and from knee surgery 12-18 months.
We will see you in the office at 2 weeks for a wound check and suture/staple removal, at 6 weeks for a function check and then at a year to address any lingering concerns.
For urgent concerns, our office is available Monday-Thursday for 8am-430pm and Friday from 8am-3pm. For emergent concerns, we always have a provider on call and ask that you call us first before going to an emergency room or urgent