What About Blood Donations?
It is not unusual to have a blood transfusion after a total hip replacement. Blood transfusions are quite safe at this time. Very sensitive tests are used to screen for AIDS, some forms of hepatitis, and other transmittable diseases. However, there is no safer blood for you to receive than your own! We can now collect your own blood at the blood bank and save it for you should you need it at the time of surgery. A minimum two week period is recommended for the body to build itself up before surgery. During this entire period, iron tablets are taken three times a day to help the body build new red blood cells. This method is called autologous blood transfusion. Blood from friends, family members, or other health volunteer donors may transmit viral hepatitis and other viral infections. Autologous transfusion is the ONLY way to eliminate this risk.
In most cases, autologous blood will meet all your needs. However, you should ask your physician about the likelihood of needing additional blood components from the community blood supply.
Permission must be obtained from your physician to be considered for autotransfusion. Your physician will indicate how many autologous units should be donated. The autotransfusion program can be tailored to meet your needs. We will need to pre-register you before going to donate. The donation procedure will be explained to you when you arrive at the Blood Center.
We are careful to minimize the need for blood transfusion and use a number of methods to save blood. One method is the use of a cell saver. This device is used in the operating room, in some cases, to collect any blood lost and process it so that it may be given back to you. We may use a device after surgery that drains any blood from the wound and saves it so that it too can be given back to you. These decisions are made at the time of your surgery.
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