If you have severe arthritis, a sports-related orthopedic issue, or have suffered a traumatic injury to a joint, you may be a candidate for a joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty).
While total joint replacement surgery is highly successful for most patients, careful preoperative prep can speed up your healing, rehabilitation, and long-term success of these amazing surgeries.
Here are tips to help you ready yourself for total joint replacement of the shoulder, hip, or knee.
Tip #1: Do Some “Prehab”
What’s prehab? It’s physical conditioning that occurs prior to orthopedic surgery. The flipside of rehab is prehab can be done at home, with a physical therapist at our offices, or in both places.
Prehab aims to improve your:
- Muscular strength
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Ability to heal
Also, simply engaging in a more active lifestyle can help you avoid the many pitfalls of living a sedentary life. So, within your ability, make time to regularly move throughout your day.
Tip #2: Be Nutrition-Conscious
There may be specific supplements or foods your orthopedic surgeon wishes you to avoid prior to surgery. Be sure to pay careful attention to his instructions.
Beyond that, in preparation for your total joint replacement surgery, you should eat a balanced diet with an eye toward:
- Good hydration
- Eating lots of fiber, particularly via fresh fruits and vegetables
- Choosing low-fat protein and dairy options
If you need to shed a few pounds, track your average daily caloric intake to ensure you stay at or below the recommended 2,000 – 2,500 calories per day.
Tip #3: Stop Smoking
Cigarettes restrict blood flow, which can negatively impact your body’s ability to heal. Smoking also increases your risk of blood clots. This is why healthcare providers urge their patients who smoke to stop prior to surgery, especially for patients planning to undergo total joint replacement surgery.
If you need help quitting, ask your doctor for suggestions. Smoking cessation programs that involve a combination of medication, behavioral modification techniques, and counseling have excellent success rates in helping people quit the habit for good.
Tip #4: Know What to Expect
Your orthopedic surgeon and support team will instruct you on what to do on the days before surgery as well as the day of your procedure. Also, they will outline your steps to recovery, including your:
- Pain management plan
- Expected hospital stay
- Bandage and surgical wound care
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy, including the use of assistive devices
- Return to work, sports, driving, and more
Tip #5: Enlist a Care Partner
Don’t try to recover from total joint replacement surgery alone. You’ll need a trusted and committed partner who can be there for you on the day of your surgery and during your recovery. Make sure this person, or others who you can count on, will be able to drive you to your follow-up appointments at the orthopedic office and to your physical therapy sessions.
Also, you likely will need assistance with bathing and dressing for a short period of time. Errand-running and meal preparation are additional valuable services you should outsource to your care partner.
Superior Total Joint Replacement Surgeries and Recovery in Watertown, NY
At North Country Orthopaedic Group in Watertown, New York, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are Dr. Bruce Baird, Dr. Steven Fish, and Dr. D. Peter Van Eenenaam. Each is highly experienced in joint arthroplasty, with the skills, training, and temperament you need for successful shoulder, knee, or hip replacement.
If you’re interested in a joint replacement or have questions about upcoming surgery and recovery, please contact us at (315) 782-1650, and we’ll set up an appointment for you. Or you can request an appointment online. At North County Orthopaedic Group, we’re here to make your surgery and recovery as smooth as possible.