Joint Replacement Surgery Timeline

For the best possible recovery after your surgery, we start preparing you weeks before surgery. It’s important that you follow all directions. Here’s a timeline of what to expect during the process:

6 weeks before surgery

  • Begin preoperative exercise program
  • Attend JointWorks education class

2 – 4 weeks before surgery

  • Complete history and physical exam (and blood work, EKG, urine tests, etc.) with primary care physician (completed within 30 days of surgery)
  • Complete dental exam 1 – 2 weeks before surgery
  • Attend JointWorks education class
  • Complete lab work not performed in primary care physician’s office
  • Complete nasal swab for MRSA screen (within 4–14 days of surgery)
  • Stop blood-thinning medications according to physician instruction

Preparing for surgery

  • Hibiclens shower (cleanser and instructions available in surgeon’s office)
  • No food or drink after midnight (or as directed by surgeon)

Day of Surgery

  • Second Hibiclens shower before coming to the hospital
  • Arrive in Admissions & Testing unit at time designated by surgeon
  • Discuss anesthesia plan with anesthesiologist

After your surgery

  • Arrive on nursing unit
  • Out of bed in afternoon/evening; begin ankle pumps every hour, when awake
  • May participate in first physical therapy session
  • Work with nursing team to manage discomfort

Day 1

  • Out of bed the majority of the day
  • Physical therapy/May have occupational therapy
  • Get dressed in regular clothes (shorts for knee patients; shorts or sweatpants for hip patients)
  • Move legs while in recliner chair or bed; ankle pumps every hour, when awake
  • Work with nursing team to manage discomfort
  • Discuss discharge options with patient care facilitator (PCF) or case manager (CM)
  • Most patients go home this day

After hospital discharge

  • Attend therapy sessions, as prescribed
  • Post-surgery visits with surgeon, as determined
  • Stay active and enjoy life!