At the time of consultation please speak to me and learn what to expect before, during, and after surgery. Ask about the process of being admitted to the hospital, investigations prior to surgery, the type of anesthesia you might need, the type of implant that will be used, length of stay in the hospital, rehabilitation, pain management, risk and prognosis. The more you know, the better you will be able to face the surgical apprehension challenges and changes that joint replacement surgery will bring in your life. Don't ever hesitate to ask questions, voice concerns, or speak up when you do not understand.
Mental-Emotional Preparation: One of the first preparations for joint replacement surgery is mental and emotional preparation. It is important to reduce outside distractions in your life, such as additional projects. Awareness is key in the preparation stage of surgery. Be aware of all aspects of the operation, without becoming fixated on an end result. Also, be aware of your environment and the instructions that are given to you by doctors, nurses and specialists. Taking an active role in learning about your surgery can lead to a more relaxed and positive attitude toward it.
One member from the Bone Smart Hip Replacement Forum states, "A friend of mine gave me the book, Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster by Peggy Huddleston. It helped me unbelievably. It, and its accompanying cassette tape, lead me through guided meditation, visualization of the healing process, emotional connection to how the hip problem may be psychologically related to some unresolved areas of your life, developing a support system, and having the doctors read "Healing Statements" while you are unconscious in surgery. I can't believe the results.
Lifestyle Preparation: I may ask you to have a physical clinical examination, but there are some additional ways you can prepare your health. Eating properly, quitting smoking and getting enough rest are the most important lifestyle changes to make prior to joint replacement surgery. Make sure that you are well nourished and as close as possible to the normal weight for your body mass.
Studies have shown that obesity leads to joint replacement-surgery complications. A dietary consult is recommended prior to surgery if you think you may be obese. Start the process of losing weight early on and continue to lose weight after the surgery so that your recovery is a successful one.
Communication: Develop a relationship with your surgeon before the operation and make sure you get all of your questions answered. Learn what the surgery involves and what you can do as a patient. Trust is a key factor in patient-surgeon relations.
After hospitalization make sure that you communicate with other specialists, internists, and regular doctors about your surgery. Discuss anesthesia with anesthesiologist. Inform them of any problems you may have had with anesthesia in the past. It is also important for your separate physicians to communicate with each other about your surgery. If you have a cardiologist, put him or her into contact with your surgeon.
Physical Preparation: Depending on your specific type of surgery, a doctor or therapist will most likely recommend a certain set of exercises. These exercises will likely be prescribed to improve your range of motion, strength, and flexibility – to minimize tightness after the surgery. Most of these exercises involve stretching, not fitness. Speak to your doctor or therapist about the proper techniques.