Surgical Services

Total Joint Replacement Surgery Discharge Instructions

Seek IMMEDIATE Medical Attention at the CLOSEST medical facility if any of the following should occur (also notify your surgeon or orthopedic surgeon on call as soon as possible-phone numbers below):

  1. Increase in pain where surgery performed
  2. Pain or swelling in EITHER calf, leg or foot (this could be a blood clot)
  3. Redness, warmth, or foul smelling or pus-like drainage at your incision
  4. Fever greater that 101° F, chills, or just not feeling well
  5. Chest pain
  6. Shortness of breath
  7. You have any questions or concerns at all

Caring for Your Incision at Home:

  1. Keep your incision clean and dry. Do not use any topical preparations of any kind on your incision.
  2. Change your water-proof dressing each day after showering until your staples are removed.
  3. Drainage should be a clear yellow or slightly pink color on your dressing. Notify your surgeon immediately if you have any pus or foul-smelling drainage from your incision.

Pain Control:

  1. You will be given narcotic pain medication to take by mouth at home. You should not need this medication after 6 weeks at the most. DO NOT DRIVE while taking narcotic medication such as hydrocodone as you could get a DUI. You should not be driving for at least 6 weeks after surgery anyway due to your knee not being ready yet.
  2. Once your pain starts decreasing, you can take over the counter pain medications during the day and save the narcotics to take at bedtime to help you sleep.
  3. You should anticipate more pain following your therapy and home exercises. Therefore, it is a good idea to schedule your pain medication to be taken before your therapy.

Other Medications:

  1. You will be given a high dose of aspirin (325 mg) to take twice daily for 6 weeks after surgery. This will help prevent you from having a blood clot in addition to you walking as much as possible after surgery.
  2. Since aspirin can irritate the stomach, you will be given a medication to protect your stomach such as omeprazole or ranitidine if you do not already normally take this type of medication.
  3. If needed, you will be given a stool softener, usually Docusate, to take twice daily as needed as narcotic pain medications such as hydrocodone (a component of Lortab) can cause constipation.

Activity Restrictions and Exercises

  1. Follow the activity restrictions and precautions as outlined by your physical therapist.
  2. Perform home exercises as outlined by your physical therapist.
  3. Physical therapy is VERY important to your healing and the successful outcomes of your surgery.
  4. Walking as often as possible can help prevent the complication of a blood clot.

Follow-Up Visits:

  1. Your staples will need to be removed from your incision in the orthopedic 2 weeks after your surgery. At this time and Xray will also be taken.
  2. You will need to see a physical therapist regularly after surgery and do your home exercises as your therapist has instructed you.
  3. You will follow up regularly with your orthopedic surgeon at 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery at the very least and possibly more depending on your progress with physical therapy.

Returning to Work and Other Activities:

  1. Plan to be out of work or not doing vigorous activities for at least 6 after surgery weeks on average. This varies with each individual patient and with the work and activities they do
  2. Your surgeon will let you know when you can return to certain activities based on your progress.