Going into joint replacement surgery may seem daunting at first and may pose a long recovery regardless of what joint is being targeted. When preparing for such a procedure, it is important to consider a number of factors to best prepare yourself for success following your operation.
First, it is essential to get the details of the actual procedure in order. This can be done through the following:
- Establish a relationship with your physician and make sure you both feel comfortable with the plan
- Establish clear cut goals for why you are undergoing the procedure and the quality of life you would like to return to following it
- Plan out where the procedure will take place and when
- Ensure that you have a trusted individual to be there the day of surgery to bring you to and from, regardless of if it is an inpatient or outpatient procedure
- Establish emergency contacts in the event of a complication
- Understand all of the risks that are associated and make sure that your goals are worth undergoing such an invasive procedure
While it will be covered with your physician prior to the procedure, make sure that you are healthy enough to undergo surgery at the current time. For example, undergoing a total knee replacement while being overweight not only increase your risk of complications associated with surgery but may also impact the longevity of your results. While it may be challenging to do so, getting fit prior to surgery, to the best of your ability, will give you the best chance of success.
In order to achieve a level of fitness optimal for surgery, follow these recommendations:
- Get yourself to a healthy body weight
- Establish a healthy and balanced diet as this will also help with healing
- Attempt to get blood pressure and cholesterol to healthy levels
- Do as much aerobic exercise as your health allows to promote healthy blood flow and nutrient delivery
- Strengthen the area around the joint, as this will make rehabilitation after surgery far more likely to be successful in less time
- Quit smoking and minimize if not quit alcohol consumption altogether
While this may seem like a lot at first, there are nutritionists and trained professionals that can help you get in shape and get your diet in order. All of this is designed to help promote a healthy and timely recovery from surgery, in addition to reducing the risk for injection or replacement failure.
In addition to these considerations, make sure you follow your physician’s instructions for immediate prep. This may include not eating or drinking within the 12 hours prior to the procedure. If you have any other questions, your physician will be able to give you specific instructions with respect to your exact procedure and individual needs.
To help you prepare for joint replacement surgery, South Shore Orthopedics offers total joint replacement education classes every Monday and Thursday morning from 8-10 a.m. and the second Tuesday evening of each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. In addition to helping prepare patients, the class is also designed to assist patients and caregivers in understanding their role as an active participant in their recovery and rehabilitation. To register, call (781) 624-8593.