Advice and tips from previous patients

The following are tips and tricks from previous Joint Replacement patients that have helped them to be successful. Remember, success looks different for everyone. It is important to listen to your surgeon’s advice and instruction.

Pre-op class
  • “Practice what you learn in Joint Replacement Class. Practice using your immobilizer, getting in and out of a vehicle, standing from a chair, and your exercises. Get your house ready.”
  • “The Joint Replacement Team is available by phone between class and your surgery. I called a couple times with questions when I read my binder. They want you to call so you have a complete understanding of what lies ahead.”“Visualize yourself in the hospital bed. See yourself getting in and out of bed, getting to the bathroom and going through therapy. Visualization helped me manage my pain and control my anxiety.”
  • “Visualize yourself in the hospital bed. See yourself getting in and out of bed, getting to the bathroom, and going through therapy. Visualization helped me manage my pain and control my anxiety.”
Hospital check-in and discharge

“VVMC makes this process simple. They help you through all the necessary paperwork. The pre-op class helped prepare me for the surgery. Checking in and discharge went very smoothly.

  • “When you wake up from surgery, you will have a bandage on your joint. You will have pain and discomfort and the nurses will give you medication to help. Take your pain meds! If you don’t take anything for pain, you may not be able to move and do therapy. The doctors and nurses want you up and moving. They will monitor your medications so you do not have to be concerned.”  
  • “When I got home, eventually I started adding more time between reduced doses of pain medications until I was only taking Tylenol. I usually took meds before therapy. Take them if you need them, but wean yourself off as soon as you can tolerate.”
  • “You will have an ice machine or bag of ice on your joint when you wake up. Ice is very beneficial for reducing inflammation at the surgical site. Keep your joint as cool as you can tolerate. Ask for an ice machine or ice pack if you don’t have one at home!”
  • “During my roughest night at the hospital, the ice machine got warm and was not turned back on for whatever reason. If you think something is not working correctly, ask for help! The staff fixed the machine quickly.”
  • “At home, I spend most of one month staying wrapped up with the ice as much as I could. I probably used it more than the average person. I would ice after a morning walk or going somewhere. I even slept with it for four hours during the night between my medications.”
Hospital stay
  • “Ask for help. Do what you can on your own, but do not be embarrassed to ask for help. The nurses and aides try to help you as soon as possible.”
  • “If you have pets, make arrangements prior to surgery for them to be taken care of. Our dog spent four days with his trainer/sitter. We had peace of mind knowing he was being cared for, which freed my husband to assist me in the hospital.”
  • “They set me up with my first follow-up appointment and with my first therapy appointment. This was helpful because I didn’t have to worry about doing this when I got home.”
  • “If you are going directly home, make sure your helper is present at the hospital. This will ensure your helper knows what to do and how to assist you when you get home. Ask questions.”
Physical/Occupational therapy (if your surgeon prescribes it)
  • “Therapy is of utmost importance. You need to follow what the doctor and therapist tell you to do. Push yourself through the pain and you will see steady progress.”
  • “My therapy began with three appointments per week and then reduced to two times per week. It lasted eight weeks. I went to VVMC EntireCare for therapy. The therapists were great! They pushed me but did not expect more than I could do.”
Home exercises
  • “Your therapists will give you exercises to do at home. Your helper is the perfect person to monitor your program and assist with exercises if needed.”
  • “I was able to manage most of my exercises myself. My husband would watch and by ready to assist. He encouraged me to do more than I thought I was capable of. He helped me do better!”
Overall and maintenance
  • “Physical therapy maintenance is a recommendation, but not a requirement. Exercises for continued strengthening of the muscles and use of the new joint are necessary to make your joint replacement a positive experience.”  
  • “After eight months, I am still going to therapy by choice. I don’t have to, but it is my choice to work on muscle tone and balance.”