Post Operative Information
Protect your joint
For patients who have had a hip replacement there are some restrictions that need to be observed. You should not flex your hip more than 90 degrees in the first 6 weeks. This is so that the muscles at the back of your hip have time to repair and strengthen. You need to be conscious of the height of chairs, lounges and toilet seats. The physiotherapist and nursing staff will also educate you about this.
For patients who have had a knee replacement, it is important to give the wound time to heal but at the same time we want you to move the knee to regain the range of motion. . You should speak to your physiotherapist or nurse about how to move the joint, if your knee is swollen and tight it may be better not to push it too hard until the swelling goes down.
In the 6 weeks following your hip replacement it is advised that you sleep on your back as this reduces the risk of dislocation. However if you are really uncomfortable in this position you can sleep on the opposite side with a pillow between your legs. After six weeks you can then sleep on either side. Most people find it uncomfortable to sleep on the operated side for approximately 3 months. Following a knee replacement you can sleep in any position that is comfortable. Pillows under your knee should not be used after the surgery in the first six weeks.
Wearing the anti-embolitic socks helps reduce the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Swelling is also an issue post surgery and the socks will also help to decrease the swelling in your lower legs. The socks are to be worn until you are mobilising comfortably and any post-operative swelling you may have experienced has subsided.
If you have any concerns regarding your socks, please contact the nurses at our practice and they will be happy to discuss this issue.
Antibiotics dental work
Following joint replacement it may be necessary to take some precautions when you are having dental work. Your dentist may order you antibiotics prior to and after your dental procedures. This is dependent on what you are having done. You will receive a dental recommendation letter in your information package. It is suggested that you give this to your dentist as a reference. If your dentist has any questions they can contact your surgeon.
On discharge from hospital your wound will have a waterproof dressing placed on it. This remains intact for 2 weeks from your surgery date. All sutures that are used are dissolving. If you have any concerns about your wound or if you feel unwell you should contact your GP or the nurse consultant at our rooms.
Hydrotherapy is an excellent way to exercise your new joint without putting undue stress on your body. It is recommended that you commence hydrotherapy approximately 3 weeks after your surgery only if your wound is healed.
Equipment needed for home
A raised toilet seat is needed for 6 weeks after surgery. On discharge from hospital crutches or a walking stick are needed. You will need to make sure you can get in and out of your shower and may need to install a handrail and chair for showering. These things will be discussed with you prior to your admission at the pre-admission clinic and certainly before you leave hospital. An occupational therapist is available to assess your home situation if you are concerned.
Following your joint replacement you may feel that you are able to drive. The RTA recommends that you do not drive a motor vehicle for 6 weeks.
If you are considering flying after surgery speak with the nurse consultants or your surgeon. Domestic flights can be taken approximately 3 weeks following your surgery. Due to the risk of DVT international flights are not recommended for 3 months after surgery.
Gentle exercise such as walking is recommended in the 6 weeks following your surgery. Most patients return to other sports activities such as golf approximately 2-3 months after surgery. If you have any questions about what sport to return to and when it is safe to do so, please speak to your surgeon.
Follow up appointments
Post-op visit will usually occur at 6 weeks following surgery. After your surgery contact our practice to make arrangements for this appointment. At this visit it is important that you bring your pre and post operative joint x-rays. Joint replacements are mechanical devices and it is recommended that they be followed up with x-rays at 6 months, 2 years, and then every 5 years after this.
At any point following your surgery, please feel free to contact our practice with any concern you may have. There are qualified nurses who can help with any issues you may be experiencing, or an appointment to see Dr Zicat can be made at any time.