Going Home After Total Joint Replacement
The usual hospital stay for a total joint replacement is 3 to 4 days. By the time of discharge, you should be able to move from bed to chair and back, and move independently with a walker or crutches. You should also be progressing well, regaining your joint motion, and leg strength.
You will be expected to continue a number of your exercises at home without supervision. It is very important that you do this to fully rehabilitate the joint as quickly as possible. We do everything medically possible to assure excellent results, and we encourage our patients to work very hard to help achieve these goals.
It is not unusual to experience an increase in swelling or to note a slight warmth or reddening of the joint as you become more active and vigorous in your exercise. Usually this will go away if you elevate your leg and apply ice if necessary. If it does not, you may have overdone it, and should rest your leg for a day. You can then resume your exercises less vigorously the next day. If the swelling, warmth or reddening is severe, persistent or associated with a fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should notify our office.
The TED stockings given to you in the hospital should be worn for three weeks after discharge. If pain, swelling or redness occurs in the calf, please notify your physician.
You should eat a balanced, nutritious diet and take a multivitamin with iron. It is very important to maintain a normal body weight following total joint replacement, because the body needs plenty of calories and nutrients in order to heal. Eat sensibly and avoid dieting at this time.
Wound Care: If your staples are still in place, keep your wound clean and dry. Sponge bathe only until your staples are removed.
Following staple removal, you may begin to shower (no bath). Your incision can get wet, but DO NOT allow the water to hit directly on your incision. The thin tape strips may be removed in 10 to 14 days.
Drainage: Inspect your incision daily. You may notice a small amount of yellow drainage, if so, keep the wound covered and watch closely.
Warning Signs: Redness, swelling or tenderness around the incision. Also increased drainage, pus or odor from the incision are worrisome. If you note these changes, please call your surgeon immediately.
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