Joint Replacement Post-Op

Total Joint / Hip Replacement

Post-Operative Orders

Depending on the type of joint replacement you have, the physician may require some basic guidelines that apply to both total hip and total knee replacement patients.

  • The weight bearing status will vary from patient to patient. This decision is based upon many factors. The physician will let you know post-operatively what your weight bearing status is for the affected joint.
  • Until your post-op visit, you should keep the incision clean and dry. You may keep a dry gauze dressing over the incision site. NO SHOWERS OR TUB BATHS!
  • You will more than likely have hose/support hose that should be worn post-operatively to prevent formation of blood clots in your legs. You may remove them for daily hygiene habits, but then they should be put back on until otherwise instructed.
  • If you have had a total hip replacement (THR), you will be instructed on some precautions that are very important. Total hip precautions include rules such as: Do not cross your legs. Do not bend your hips past 90 degrees. Do not allow your operated leg to roll inward. You can refer to these on page 52 of your THR booklet.
  • Since there is a risk for developing blood clots after surgery, you can expect to be prescribed an anticoagulant medication. Some common forms are Lovenox and Arixtra. You may have a Home Health Care nurse giving you this injection daily, or you and/or a family member can learn how to give the injection.
  • Being on an anticoagulant medication may also require you to have a weekly lab test (CBC). This bloodwork can be arranged through a Home Health Care agency or an outpatient lab.
  • You can also expect to need some type of walking aid such as a walker, crutch or cane. As your recovery progresses, your physician will let you know when you can go without the aid.
  • Some patients may choose to go to a rehabilitation facility after total joint surgery depending on their situation at home. If you do go home directly from the hospital, you may want to refer to pages 37-43 of your THR and TKR booklet for suggestions on rehab and activities of daily living at home. (i.e. – cooking, cleaning, showering).
  • For exercises to do at home, refer to pages 50-52 in your TKR and THR booklets. The success and progress of your total replacement is a direct result of your participation with physical therapy and home exercises.
  • Take your pain medication and anticoagulant as directed by the physician.
  • You should call the physician if you have a fever above 101.0, persistent swelling, redness or pain in your hip or leg, increase bleeding or drainage, shortness of breath, dizziness or chest pain.
  • In the future, or for as long as you have a total joint replacement, you will need to be pre-medicated for dental procedures and endoscopic type procedures. You may want to discuss this with your dentist or medical provider performing these procedures.
  • Remember to call the office within one week after your surgery to schedule a post-op appointment.