Back to Considering Surgery

Patient's Pathway Through
Joint Replacement

To help you understand what you can expect during surgery and recovery, we've developed a common itinerary for your journey.

Prior to Surgery

You will meet your surgeon in clinic where a thorough medical history and physical examination will help to determine if joint replacement surgery will benefit you. The risks and benefits of joint replacement specific to your health and well-being will be reviewed. Once a surgical date is scheduled, an Internal Medicine doctor in our clinic will evaluate you to ensure that you are in the best health possible before surgery. You will also be invited to attend a Patient Education Class that will review all of the details of the procedure and the expected recovery where you will have another opportunity to ask any question you may have.

Day of Surgery:

Once you arrive, your nurse will perform an overall assessment and serve as your primary contact person and caregiver throughout your stay. Pain medication and antibiotics will be started even before surgery as part of our comprehensive approach to patient care.

Following surgery, medications to prevent blood clots will be started and pain medications will continue to keep you comfortable. You may be reviewed by an Internal Medicine Hospitalist to help manage your overall health and keep you well on the road to recovery.

Following Surgery:

You will begin to use your new joint. One of our physical therapists will visit to help you through exercises. The therapists and nurses work as a team to help you to walk and exercise as you are able with the goal of accelerating your recovery.

Your nurse will distribute your medications and tend to your needs throughout the day. Your surgeon will check in with you and answer any questions you might have. Your nurse will continue to assist you with pain management, ordering meals and other requests you may have. One of the Hospitalist doctors may evaluate your general medical status to ensure that your body is recovering properly.

A case manager or social worker will meet with you to develop a discharge plan tailored to your personal needs.

Post-Operative Day 1+:

You will continue to learn additional exercises to improve your recovery and use of your new joint. Depending on your progress, you may be discharged from the hospital to continue recovering at home or another facility. The length of time varies from patient to patient depending on many factors. In general, several milestones must be met to be ready for discharge. Your surgeon will discuss your progress with the therapists, case managers, nurses, and other team members to help determine when you are appropriate for discharge.

You also will receive discharge instructions, including some restrictions that are crucial to the healing process.