The day of surgery
In preparing for joint replacement surgery, some anaesthetists will order pre-medication to be given approximately one hour before you go into the operating theatre. You’ll be transferred to the operating room on your bed or a trolley. An IV (intravenous) tube will be inserted in your arm to administer fluids and medications, including antibiotics. You will have either a spinal or general anaesthetic (or both) and this will have been discussed with your anaesthetist. Elastic stockings will be put on your legs to help the blood flow. You may also have compression sleeves wrapped around your feet and calves connected to a machine that inflates them with air to promote blood flow and decrease the possibility of blood clots.
The operating theatre is often bright, busy and cool in temperature. Joint replacement surgery generally lasts one to two hours (sometimes more depending upon your individual circumstances.)
After the joint replacement procedure, you will be transferred to the recovery room where nursing staff monitor your recovery. You’ll remain in the recovery room until you are awake and alert. In addition to the IV tube, you may have a catheter tube to drain your bladder, and a wound drain (a tube coming out of the skin near your hip attached to a bottle/container). You may also be wearing special elastic stockings to help blood flow. Time spent in recovery is often 1 to 3 hours but varies depending upon your response to anaesthetic. Visitors are not usually permitted in the recovery area.
After recovery, you will be transferred to your hospital ward or room. Nursing staff will continue to closely monitor your progress and you will be administered pain medication to manage pain. You’ll be given a diet of clear liquids or soft foods, as tolerated. A physiotherapist will visit to discuss post-operative exercises. You will be encouraged to breathe deeply and cough to clear your lungs.