The Twenty-Four Hours Following Surgery
After your surgery is complete, you will be transported to the recovery room for close observation of your vital signs, circulation, and sensation in your legs and feet. As soon as your condition is stabilized, you will be transferred to your room.
When you wake up, you will find a large dressing applied to your incision. The dressing maintains cleanliness and absorbs any fluid. You may be wearing elastic hose and/or a compression stocking sleeve designed to minimize the risk of blood clots. You may have a catheter inserted into your bladder, as the side effects of anesthesia may make it difficult to urinate. If you had a total knee replacement, a continuous passive motion (CPM) unit may be placed on your leg to slowly and gently bend and straighten your knee. This device is vital for quickly regaining your knee range of motion.
The vast majority of Dr. Martin's patients stay in the hospital for only one night. You will be discharged, either to your home or to a rehabilitation center, when you can get out of bed on your own and walk with a walker. At home or at your center, you should begin ambulation as tolerated. Keep your incision clean and dry and watch closely for any sign of infection. You'll continue your home exercise program and attend outpatient physical therapy, where you'll work on an advanced strengthening program. Your long-term rehabilitation goals are a range of motion from 100-120 degrees of knee flexion. You should experience mild to no pain with walking or other functional activities, and independence in all activities of daily living.
The Three Weeks Following Surgery
Total joint replacement surgery is a complex procedure, and physical rehabilitation is crucial to full recovery. In order to meet the goals of a total joint replacement surgery, you must take ownership of the rehabilitation process and work diligently on your own, as well as with your physical therapist, to achieve optimal clinical and functional results. The rehabilitation process following joint replacement can be quite painful at times.
Your rehabilitation program begins in the hospital after surgery. Early goals of rehabilitation are to reduce stiffness and maximize range of motion.
The following steps are to be taken to help maximize your range of motion following surgery:
- (for knee patients) Strict adherence to the CPM protocol as prescribed by Dr. Martin
- Early physical therapy (day 1 or 2), including exercises and walking program
- Edema control to reduce swelling (ice, compression stockings, and elevation)
- Adequate pain control to help tolerate the rehabilitation regimen
Outpatient Physical Therapy
Your outpatient rehabilitation program will consist of a variety of exercises designed to help you regain range of motion in the joint and build strength in the muscles that support it. You will follow an advanced strengthening program, adding weights as tolerated. A stationary cycle and walking program will be used to help increase range and stamina. Dr. Martin typically prescribes physical therapy three times a week for the first three weeks.
The Months Following Surgery
As you gain more strength and flexion in your joint, you'll be able to participate again in activities you once loved. It is normal to experience some pain, hear clicking sounds, and see redness or swelling. It can take about a year to a year and a half for your new joint to be fully settled without any of these symptoms, so be patient with your body. If you experience symptoms more severe than those listed, please contact our office. As a total joint replacement patient, you are required to take antibiotics before any and all dental work for life so as to minimize the risk of infection in the joint. Please call Dr. Martin's office for needed antibiotic prescriptions.