In order to make a significant difference in your long-term health following knee replacement surgery, it is important to properly prepare ahead of time. The following suggestions will help ensure a faster, safer recovery:
Know What To Expect
Prior to surgery, speak with your doctor regarding the procedure. Discuss such details as where and when to go, the length of time the procedure will take, what type of anesthesia will be used, and what type of implant you will receive. The more you understand, the less anxious you′ll be.
In order to help your new joint function better, it is important to strengthen the muscles around your knees. Strong muscles will also help you return to your daily activities more quickly after knee replacement surgery. Exercising will also help you lose weight which may reduce your risk for complications.
Tobacco hinders your body′s ability to heal. It can make recovery take longer and be more difficult. Speak with your doctor if you need help to quit smoking.
Gather Your Paperwork
You will need to provide your medical information to healthcare providers as the date of surgery approaches. Gather your medical history and insurance information. Make lists of your medications, dietary restrictions, allergies, and doctors. Appoint one close friend or family member to relay any information between the doctor and other friends and family.
Organize Your Finances
The cost of knee replacement surgery can be high. You will receive bills from your surgeon, hospital, and anesthesiologist. Inquire about your doctor′s fees and the hospital′s charges. Contact your insurance company regarding your benefits. Question your employer about leave time and disability pay.
Certain over the counter medications may interfere with the success of the surgery – such as aspirin and ibuprofen which prevent blood from clotting. Prescription medications such as Enbrel and methotrexate suppress the immune system and may increase your risk for infection. Speak with your doctor regarding your medications ahead of time.
Keep The Surgeon Informed
Inform your surgeon about any medical conditions you have been diagnosed with such as heart disease or diabetes. The surgeon and the doctors who treat you for these conditions may need to have a consultation before knee replacement surgery can be performed. Keep your medical team updated if you experience any health changes in the two weeks prior to surgery – such as flu, colds, or fevers.
Rearrange Your Living Space
Make your home more safe, convenient, and comfortable during your recovery by putting the things you use most often within arm′s reach – books, the TV remote, and your medications. Install bathroom grab bars. Secure or remove rugs so as to avoid tripping. Move your sleeping area to the ground floor.
Arrange For Help
Make plans for someone to pick you up from the hospital and drive you home. If you have small children, arrange childcare. Ask someone if they can stay with you for several days following your knee replacement surgery. If not, consider making arrangements at a rehabilitation facility. Visit the facility ahead of time for a tour.
Pack A Bag
Pack items such as slippers, a robe, glasses/contacts, and reading materials which will help make your hospital stay more pleasant.
Read and understand the instructions given to you regarding what to do or not to do the day and/or night prior to surgery. Commonly, you will need to stop eating and drinking approximately 6 – 12 hours before surgery. If you do not understand something about knee replacement surgery protocol, ask questions.