Your Hospital Stay
Q: Will I be in pain after surgery?
A: You will have discomfort, but we will help you manage your pain with appropriate medication delivered through your IV, an epidural or a nerve blocks placed by your anesthesiologist. By day one you will be taking oral pain medication.
Q: When will my pain go away?
A: You can expect to have some pain for several weeks. However, post surgical pain is different from the deep, aching pain most people experience before surgery. Your new or repaired joint should eventually relieve the pain and stiffness you’ve had prior to surgery.
Q: Will I have a scar?
A: Scars for joint replacement surgery are usually around 6 inches long. Arthroscopic surgery is performed with several small incisions - each about one inch long. Your scar’s actual length may vary.
Q: How long will I be in the hospital on bed rest?
A: You will probably stay in bed the day of your surgery. The next morning you will get up and sit in a chair for several hours. If you had knee or hip surgery, you will be shown how to walk with a walker.
Q: How long will I need a walker or crutches?
A: You can expect to use a walker or crutches the day after surgery and then for 2 to 4 weeks. As you progress, your surgeon or physical therapist may suggest a cane. Eventually, depending on your general health prior to surgery, you may not need any assistive device.
Q: Where will I go after the hospital? What if I live alone?
A: Many patients are able to go directly home after discharge. Some need to transfer to a short-term rehabilitation facility for 7-10 days before going home. Your surgeon can help determine the best plan for you.
Q: What Can I Expect After the Operation?
A: After surgery, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). A specially trained nurse will watch you closely. During this period, you may be given extra oxygen and your breathing and heart functions will be observed closely. An anesthesiologist is available to provide care as needed for your safe recovery.
Q: How long will I be on bed rest in the hospital?
A: You will probably stay in bed the day of your surgery. The next morning you will get up, sit in an appropriate chair for 2-3 hours. You will be instructed on how to walk with a walker.
Q: How long will I be in the hospital?
A: The average length of stay is 3 days. Patients may be discharged sooner if they are medically stable and comfortable. You will be evaluated by your physician daily during your stay in the hospital.
Q: Will I need any special medication after surgery?
A: Your surgeon will determine the medications necessary to assist in your recovery and will prescribe them prior to your discharge. In some cases, this includes blood thinners. The following is a description of some common blood thinners. These should ONLY be taken if prescribed by your physician.
• Low-molecular heparin (i.e. Fragmin or Lovenox)
This is prescribed for up to 21 days after surgery. This medication is given as a subcutaneous injection. The area it needs to be given in is the sides of your lower abdomen. You will be instructed in the proper technique to do this if you are going home on it, and given the necessary equipment to get you started.
Coumadin comes in the form of a pill. You will need to take this for 4-6 weeks or, if you were on it before admission, you will continue as before. This may be given with low-molecular heparin until your blood levels reach the necessary level to be therapeutic.
The doctor may prescribe aspirin for you in place of, or in addition to, low-molecular heparin to help prevent blood clots. You may be discharged home on this medication also.
Other blood thinner medications may be prescribed for you to prevent blood clots. When taking blood thinners you need to be careful not to get cut as your blood will not clot as quickly. We recommend you use an electric razor if needed.
You are responsible for co-pays and/or deductibles for these medications upon discharge. Please bring an appropriate method of payment.