This information is intended to be an overview of activities that you may experience during joint replacement surgery.

It is not intended to replace any instructions provided by your physician, and we would encourage you to discuss this information with your physician.



Become familiar with your joint anatomy. You may find it helpful to understand your joint anatomy and read answers to common questions.

Store frequently used items in easy to reach cabinets, such as cleaning supplies and canned foods . Avoid very high or very low shelves as these may require you to use a step stool or kneel.

MAKE AND FREAZE MEALS or stock up on frozen dinners before surgery so that meal preparation is easier and requires less effort . You may want to make a list of items you will need to prepare meals and go to the supermarket. You should plan on making enough meals for one week or so.

CONTACT FRIENDS/FAMILY FOR SUPPORT. Friends/family may be needed to assist with activities such as driving and moving items in your home for safety.

CHECK THE SAFETY OF YOUR HOME to prevent falls or tripping . Move long electrical and telephone cords against the wall, remove rugs, and place a non-skid mat in your bathtub. You may want to prepare a bed in the downstairs level of you home to reduce climbing stairs. Have an elevated chair or high seated chair with arms in every room if possible.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS. Your physician may not want you to take any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, etc.) for the 14 days before surgery. You may be able to take Tylenol or medicines with acetaminophen. Be sure to discuss this with your physician.

PURCHASE OR BORROW the special equipment your physician recommends. This may include an elevated commode and small devices such as a grabber. You can find these items at most hospital supply sections of large pharmacies or in mail order catalogues from department stores. Practice using the items at home.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS. Your physician may not want you to take any aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, etc.) for the 14 days before surgery. You may be able to take medicines with acetaminophen. Be sure to discuss this with your physician.

WRITE DOWN all of the medication you take, the dose, and how often . You will want to take this with you when you pre-admit at the hospital.

PRE-REGISTER AT THE HOSPITAL . Your surgeon may suggest that you pre-admit to the hospital typically three to nine days before your surgery.  Depending upon your surgeon's instructions, you may have lab work, x-rays, and an EKG. You may want to plan at least 2 1/2 hours to complete the visit. Check with your surgeon to see if an appointment is necessary. You may receive a breathing exerciser. The nurse will review written directions for the exerciser with you. Bring a list of the medicines you are currently taking; this includes the name(s) of the medicine, the dose(s), and how often you take the medication. If you have blood slips from blood you or your family have donated, bring the slips with you and give them to the nurse in the Admissions Area. You may also see someone from the anesthesia department to discuss anaesthetic.

MANAGE FINANCES . You may want to balance your chequebook, pay bills, make arrangements to board pets, and stop the delivery of your newspaper. If you are going to a rehabilitation facility after being discharged from the hospital, you can ask you local post office to hold your mail until you return home.

CONTACT LOCAL SUPERMARKETS AND PHARMACIES . Some supermarkets and pharmacies provide delivery services to your home. This may make mobility after surgery more convenient. Call supermarkets and pharmacies to see if they provide delivery services and if they charge a fee.

GO TO THE SUPERMARKET . Make a list of the items you may need once you return from the hospital and purchase these items or arrange for the supermarket to deliver these to your home. If you are going to a rehabilitation facility after your hospital discharge, you will need to make arrangements for someone to drive you to the supermarket or do your shopping for you.

EATING OR DRINKING after midnight may or may not be allowed by your surgeon (not even water) the night before your surgery . Check with your physician about this. Your anaesthetist may prescribe a medication for you to take the evening before surgery.

ARRIVAL AT THE HOSPITAL . You should report to the hospital at least two hours before your scheduled surgery. The nurses will complete your preparation for surgery and will likely review your care following surgery.

About your surgery . You may want to read an overview of your procedure.
HOW YOU WILL FEEL AFTER YOUR SURGERY. Be sure to ask your physician how you may feel after surgery. You may be nauseous, dizzy, weak, loss of appetite, and have constipation. You will probably experience a level of pain, and patients usually have marked improvement in a few days after surgery.

FIRST MEAL AFTER SURGERY will likely be ice chips and clear liquids and will progress to solid foods as tolerated . Check with your physician about your first meal.

SELF-CARE AFTR SURGERY. A catheter may be in place after surgery. It is normally removed when you can get out of bed to the bedside commode or restroom, you can feed yourself, and can bathe your face and upper body. Your bandage will probably be changed once or twice a day.

VISITORS AFTER SURGERY. Typically you are allowed visitors once you have been moved from the recovery room and into your own room. If you would prefer not to have visitors, please tell the nursing staff so they can communicate this to potential visitors.

YOUR HOSPITAL STAY. Your surgeon will visit you and your physical therapist will begin post-op exercises. Your pain may be managed with shots or pills.

SELF-CARE. A bedside commode will probably be available until you are able to walk to the restroom. Walking to the restroom will build your strength and prepare you for discharge home. You can bathe yourself with a little help around your surgery area.

DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL. You will be discharged from the hospital when your physician feels the time is right, this is typically five days after surgery. You will need to make arrangements for an ambulance or someone to drive you home from the hospital, as you will not be able to drive a car. You will also want to wear comfortable, loose clothing to avoid pressure on the incision area. Your physiotherapist will review how to get in and out of a car.

TRANSFER TO THE REHABILITATION FACILI . Depending on your situation, your physician may recommend that you be transferred to a rehabilitation facility after you are discharged from the hospital. You may be there a few days so you can begin physical therapy and your health can be monitored.

FILL PAIN MEDICATION PRESCRIPTION . Your surgeon will probably give you a prescription for pain medication. You will probably need less each day but you may need them at night for a few days. Check with your physician. Do not drink alcoholic beverages while you are taking pain medication. Some people find that Tylenol and aspirin will relieve their pain. A local pharmacy may deliver these to your home.