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Care in the Hospital After Surgery

State-of-the-Art Private Room

From the recovery room, we will take you to your own private room equipped with a walk-in shower, pull-out sleeper bed, flat screen TV and WiFi. Your family will be notified of your room location as you are being transferred there. We encourage one family member, friend, or your personal coach to spend the night with you. You can eat when you feel hungry. Let the nurse know if a special diet is needed.

Managing Discomfort

We will make you comfortable during your hospital stay and throughout your recovery so you can walk and bend and straighten your knee, care for yourself, and breathe deeply. The nurse will ask you to rate your discomfort on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the worst. The nurse will administer intravenous or oral medication until your discomfort is reduced to a tolerable level. Complete relief of discomfort has drawbacks as it can compromise your breathing and make you nauseated.

Every eight hours during your hospital stay you will receive an intravenous dose of Toradol, or Ofirmev when you cannot take anti-inflammatory medications. These treat discomfort very effectively. When you tolerate liquids, the nurse will administer oral pain medication. Anti-nausea medicine can be requested when your stomach feels ‘queasy’. Discomfort in the upper thigh area of the operated leg is normal and is a result of the tourniquet used to prevent blood loss during the surgery. It will resolve itself within a week or so after surgery.

Managing Swelling

We will elevate both of your legs above your heart on a bolster, which decreases swelling and discomfort and promotes bending and straightening your new knee. The use of a bolster restores better knee motion and is more comfortable than a constant-passive motion machine or CPM. When you are awake frequently pump your ankles up and down to reduce the risk of blood clots. When you are asleep, sequential compression devices compress the calf area of your lower legs to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Managing Constipation

Pain medication frequently causes constipation. Consider taking a stool softener such as over the counter. Colace or Metamucil starting the day before the surgery. If you become constipated in the hospital, let your nurses know. They have a variety remedies to offer you that you can also use at home.

Activities and Exercises That Rehabilitate Your Knee

It is important to begin rehabilitating your total knee replacement within a few hours after surgery. Because the implants are cemented to your bone, you can place all your weight on your new knee. Physical and occupational therapists will teach you to get in and out of bed, straighten and bend your knee, walk down the hall with a walker, go up and down stairs, and take care of yourself while recovering at home. You recover faster when you get out of bed and use the bathroom rather than staying in bed and using a bedpan. Activate the call light at your bed side to notify a nurse, aide, or therapist to assist you. Patients that get in and out of bed by themselves (with a walker), walk 50 feet with a walker, climb stairs and feel ‘peppy’ are discharged home. Ninety percent of our patients prefer to stay one night in the hospital.