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Prepare for Care: Hip & Knee Surgery Recovery

What to Expect – Pre-surgery

Before the surgery, seek out assistance from a family member or friend. You will need a caregiver after the surgery and the following weeks, who can help with:

  • Mobility: Patients will have poor mobility, so rooms should be decluttered.
  • Staying active: People need to adjust to their replacement, so daily mobility is a must.
  • Minimizing pain: Keep irritation at a minimum by icing regularly and elevating the wound site. Elevation prevents blood from gathering around the surgical site and becoming inflamed.
  • Physical therapy: Patients may have poor dexterity and flexibility initially after surgery because of tissue inflammation, which is the body's healing mechanism. Physical therapy and increased movement can help restore blood flow to the area and allow your body to adjust to the new changes.
  • Wound care: Proper cleaning of the site and rest will help protect the wound from bacteria. Overextension can cause the wound site to reopen.
  • Daily tasks: People should not overextend the joint or bend it initially after surgery. Keep items close by so you do not have to overreach. Certain hip and knee surgery recovery products can act as an extender so you do not have to.

Prepare Your Home

Surgery is exhausting, so recovery should be an enjoyable process. There are various areas of the home that can be adjusted to keep you comfortable and happy.

Comfort bathroom aids can help with daily tasks. Install grab bars to easily get in and out of the bathtub. Hip and knee surgery make it difficult to stand for long periods of time - shower chairs will allow you to rest painful, recovering joints. Set up a raised toilet seat to prevent overextension.

Since mobility is encouraged in recovery, it is important to invest in a walker or cane to help support your leg. You may not think you need it, but easing pressure on the joint can help it heal without irritation and pain. Keep mobility devices within reach.

Overreaching can cause the surgical site to reopen, and can seem difficult to avoid. Invest in dressing aid products like shoehorns, sock aids and zipper-pull tools to allow you to dress independently without hassle.

Sometimes hip and knee surgery needs to happen. When it does, EasierLiving is here to help with a multitude of recovery products to make the process easier.

Condition Overview: Hip & Knee Surgery Recovery

Hip and knee surgery are orthopedic procedures involving joint repair, replacement or removal, which are preformed by orthopedic surgeons at outpatient practices or hospitals. They are reconstructive surgeries to help alleviate joint pain or immobility caused by a variety of injuries or ailments.

Patients usually see an orthopedic surgeon a few times and get diagnostic tests before making the decision to undergo surgery and ensure they are proper candidates. There are also many effective nonsurgical treatments available for people to try if they do not qualify for surgery. Hip and knee joint replacements are a very common type of orthopedic surgery - nearly 1 million people underwent a hip or knee replacement in 2011.

There are various causes for hip and knee replacements, including arthritis, joint injury and childhood hip disease. These conditions can wear down joint cartilage in the knees and hips and cause bones at the joint to rub against each other. This friction may result in pain and joint inflammation and can lessen mobility.

Patients should prepare well in advance for the surgery both physically and mentally. The surgery can take up to a few hours to complete. After the procedure, it may take between weeks and months to regain full mobility and alleviation from pain. People often need sufficient rest and healing time before returning to daily activities.

Types of Surgery

Two common types of hip surgery are total hip replacement and hip resurfacing. During a total hip replacement, the damaged natural ball-and-socket joint is removed and replaced with a metal model. Hip resurfacing is when the head of the hip is trimmed down and capped with a metal cover.

People can undergo a total or a partial knee replacement. Total knee replacement surgery is when damaged joint cartilage is removed from the surface of the knee bone and replaced with metal parts to mimic the normal knee function. Usually, patients with partial knee replacements only have damage to one part of the knee. As a result, only one part of the knee needs replacing. Similar to a total knee replacement, the damaged part is removed and metal parts are inserted.

Surgeons and patients work together to figure out which surgery is most fitting. Ultimately, the causes for the surgery determine which procedure is chosen.

Postoperative Care

After surgery, physicians will provide a list of recommended recovery methods that patients should follow. Patients will need mobility assistance initially after surgery to help them get up and move around. Surgeons often suggest that people move as much as possible to adjust to the joint replacement and increase blood flow, which promotes healing.

Physical therapy helps patients adapt to their new joints and improves mobility over time. Therapy also restores flexibility and range of motion by helping rebuild any atrophied muscles. There are also home care products that can help postoperative patients heal and gain strength.

  • Compression bands: Help immobilize the surgical area and reduce swelling.
  • Ice: Patients can use cold therapy to numb the pain.
  • Nutrition: Weight management can help prevent future joint pain. Too much weight on the joints places stress on them and increases irritation.
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