Post-Operative Joint Replacement FAQ

The surgical procedure can take 1-2 hours depending upon the patient and joint being replaced. Following surgery, the patient will recover for 1-2 hours before being transferred to their room. Family and friends are able to see patients once they arrive at their room. For EXCEL patients, upon arrival to your care suite you will be evaluated by the nurse and once comfortable undergo a therapy session.

For hospital patients, expect a stay 1-3 days in length. Approximately 80% of people are discharged on the 1st or 2nd day after surgery. Physical therapists and social workers will evaluate you and assist with planning for discharge. This includes evaluating your home for safety, making sure you have all the equipment necessary for your recovery and reviewing your specific care issues and medication regimen.

For EXCEL patients, the discharge occurs the following morning. By this time, patients will have had several sessions of physical therapy and be confident in their mobility and post-operative care. You will be discharged with all necessary equipment to be successful in your recovery. A home exercise protocol will be provided for patients as well.

Upon returning home, joint replacement patients should take precautions to limit the amount of stress placed on the joint during daily activities. Trip hazards should be removed such as rugs, electrical cords or other items that could cause a fall.  

In addition, the use of bathroom aids, such as a shower chair or gripping bar, will make bathing easier and safer, and placing frequently used items in a centralized area, to minimize stair climbing, is recommended.

Wound care is fairly simple. Water proof dressings with surfaces that encourage healing are utilized that can be left in place until seen back in clinic. This maintains a sterile environment for the incision to heal and minimizes anxiety around dressing changes. For the majority of patients, absorbable sutures are used for wound closure. This minimizes scarring and this avoids the need to undergo painful suture or staple removal.

Following shoulder replacement, patients can expect to be seen back in clinic 7-10 days later. Hip and knee replacement patients return to clinic approximately 2 weeks after surgery.

It is often recommended that patients return to daily activities on a gradual basis, slowly incorporating simple activities as they regain joint strength and flexibility. Patients are typically able to return to the majority of their daily activities 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.