Preparing for surgery
Preparing for a total joint replacement includes many important items, including making your
home “user-friendly” when you return from the hospital or rehabilitation facility.
Visit your family physician or specialist
You will need to have a medical evaluation from your medical specialist or family physician
prior to surgery.Remember: As soon as your surgery is scheduled you must see your cardiologist,
specialist or family physician at least two to three weeks prior to your surgery.
Attend a free Virtua pre-surgical orientation class
Learn the details of preparing for surgery, the operation and rehabilitation. Meet other
patients who are having a joint replacement. To sign up for a class or for times and locations,
call 1-888-Virtua-3 (1-888-847-8823).
Have pre-admission testing
This should be done two to three weeks before surgery to make sure that you are in the best
possible health. The hospital’s pre-admission nurse will help you. Some tests your physician
may order include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) to measure your heart’s electrical activity
- Chest x-ray to make sure your lungs are healthy
- Urinalysis to provide information about body chemistry and your kidneys
- Routine blood work for information about blood cells and body chemistry
Contact your insurance company
Review your individual policy coverage to discuss equipment, rehabilitation and hospital
stays. We are committed to working within your insurance company’s constraints to make
sure you receive all the care you need.
Contact your Virtua case management social worker
Discuss your discharge rehabilitation options with the case manager/social worker who acts as a liaison between you and the insurance company. The Case Management Department can be reached at the location you are having surgery:
- Marlton Hospital
- Memorial Hospital
(609) 267-0700 ext. 43270
- Virtua Joint Replacement Institute
Virtua Health & Wellness Center - Voorhees
Eat healthy foods
Before your surgery, it is advisable that you pay close attention to your diet. Choose from all
food groups, particularly those with a lot of calcium, iron and protein. Eating properly helps
expedite wound healing. It also helps prevent infections and decreases the chance that you
may need a trans-fusion. Consult your doctor before making changes in your diet that might.
Just before surgery
You will be asked to remove dentures or hearing aids, all jewelry, glasses, contact lenses, hairpins
and underwear. A registered nurse will start an intravenous line (IV) in your arm so you can
receive fluids and medications. The nurse will review your chart for pre-admission test results
Your temperature, pulse and blood pressure will be checked. The nurse will ask
about any allergies you may have and reaffirm with you the specific joint being replaced.
You will meet with the anesthesiologist to discuss anesthesia options and your postoperative
pain management. Anesthesia keeps you pain free during the operation.
Post-surgery, anesthesia or your surgeon will provide pain management to keep you as
pain-free as possible.
Knee replacement surgery usually takes between one and three hours. After
surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will remain until it is determined that
you are alert enough to be taken to your room.
The recovery process
Upon waking up in the recovery room, you may feel groggy and “out of it” and perhaps
cold. These are perfectly normal feelings after anesthesia. Specially trained nurses will
carefully monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, surgical dressing and recovery process.
Warming blankets will be provided. Soon afterward, you’ll be taken to your room where you
can see your family and begin your recovery process. Once you are in your room, you can
expect to be hospitalized for one to three days while you recover and begin rehabilitation.
The day after surgery you’ll meet with your joint replacement team, including your case
manager, to decide whether you will go to a rehabilitation facility or to your home. This will
depend on your progress, your insurance coverage, your doctor’s recommendation and your
preferences. Either way, your Virtua case manager will make all the arrangements to assure a
smooth transition to your next step of recovery.