I Need a Joint Replacement, What Now?
Every year, approximately 1.25 million Americans undergo total joint replacement surgery. One of the most routine procedures across the country, total joint replacement can notably lower pain levels and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. Proper preparation for the procedure is integral to a successful healing journey to get the most out of joint surgery. Many doctors recommend reassessing exercise levels, prioritizing a healthy diet, lowering nicotine usage, managing current medication, and optimizing the home’s safety to empower a quick recovery.
Preparing your joints for surgery
Gentle exercise before surgery is often recommended and can be beneficial until the day of surgery. Building muscle in the upper body puts less pressure on the new joint, empowering a faster recovery. Exercises which target the leg muscles are also beneficial to maintaining leg muscles while the replaced joint heals.
Eat your fruits and vegetables, please
To help the healing process, physicians recommend maintaining or shifting to a balanced diet following the surgery. Nutrients such as calcium, iron, and fiber relieve potential constipation from pain medication while keeping bones strong. Light meals are recommended in the hours directly before surgery, as anesthesia may lead to sluggish bowel activity.
This is a no-smoking zone
Reducing tobacco use before a total knee replacement procedure is vital to making a full recovery. Smoking cigarettes lowers the oxygen level within the bloodstream, increasing the risk of complications while under anesthesia. Quitting or drastically cutting down on tobacco use in the months following surgery is recommended to reduce adverse events and aid recovery.
What about my meds?
Discuss current prescription medications with a physician or pharmacist to avoid potential drug interactions. Common over-the-counter blood thinners can increase bleeding risk after surgery. All active medications should be mentioned to your provider to prevent drug interactions that could delay recovery.
Getting mobile, staying mobile
Preparing the home before surgery makes the patient’s recovery process much more comfortable.
Installing a raised toilet seat and clearing pathways in crowded areas of the home prevents accidents at home, which could hinder recovery. Furthermore, many dieticians recommend cooking additional healthy food before surgery to limit activity and maximize nutrition intake.
Empowering a fast recovery
While joint replacement surgery is relatively common in modern healthcare, correctly preparing for a joint replacement procedure boosts the plausibility of an easy recovery. By exercising, eating healthy, quitting smoking, managing medication, and preparing the home, patients can regain mobility and enjoy a high quality of life.