What to Expect

On the morning of your surgery, you will arrive at the hospital or surgery center admitting area, and become admitted to the hospital. You will then be taken to the appropriate pre-surgical area. A nurse will spend a few minutes preparing you for surgery by taking your vital signs, starting IV fluids, and administering necessary medications. You will be asked remove all jewelry, contacts, dentures, etc. You will change into a hospital gown, be placed on a hospital bed, and transported to the operating room. The anesthesiologist will meet you and review the medications and procedures used during the surgery.

Surgery and Recovery

After the surgical case is completed, you will be taken to the recovery room for a period of close observation. Your vital signs, including: blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature will be closely monitored. Special attention will be given to your circulation and sensation in the feet and legs. When you awaken and your condition is stabilized, you will be transferred to your room.

You may also awaken to some or all of the following:

    • An IV will continue post-operatively in order to provide adequate fluids and necessary medications.
    • A catheter may have been inserted into your bladder.
    • A large dressing applied to the surgical area.
    • A hemovac suction container with tubes leading directly into the surgical area. This device allows the nurses to measure and record the amount of drainage being lost from the wound following surgery.

An elastic hose may be applied to decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Furthermore, a compression device may be applied to your feet to further prevent a DVT.

A patient-controlled analgesia or PCA device may be connected to your IV. This device will allows you to control the relative amount and frequency of the pain medication. The unit is set to deliver a predefined amount of pain medication anytime you press the button of the machine. The machine is programmed so that you cannot overdose on the pain medication.

You will typically be placed on a floor of the hospital with other patients who have had surgical procedures. As a result, the nursing staff is well-trained to manage the post-operative program following total joint replacement.