Joint replacement surgeries are becoming more and more common with millions being completed each year. If you have decided it’s time to replace your knee, you’re probably wondering about all of the things you need to get done before going in for surgery, which is why we have put together a comprehensive list of ways you can better prepare for a knee replacement surgery.
Put Together Your Paperwork
Before surgery, you will be asked lots of questions about your medical history, your insurance coverage, and all of your arrangements for before and after the procedure. A good way to streamline this process is to gather information about:
- The names, addresses, and phone numbers of any relevant contacts such as your immediate family members or physicians you have been receiving care from.
- The friend or family member who will be responsible for bringing you to your appointments, getting you to the hospital on the day of your knee replacement, and helping you return home to recover after surgery.
- All known medical conditions that you have. Health conditions prevalent in your family can also be quite useful at identifying potential concerns.
- Any medications you are currently taking. Be sure to also include the dosage amount and how often you take each type of medication. This pertains to vitamins or other supplements you take as well, not just medications that have been prescribed to you.
- A list of any previous procedures you have undergone and possible complications you may have experienced, such as a reaction to a medication or anesthetic.
- A list of known allergies whether to medication or food. Other dietary restrictions are also important to note.
- Specific directives regarding your health and wellbeing, such as a living will or power of attorney to act on your behalf if needed.
Get Your Body Ready for Surgery
A great way to make the recovery process easier on yourself is to spend a little time exercising in the weeks before your knee replacement. You are likely to use crutches or some sort of supportive tool after surgery, which makes this an excellent time to tone the muscles in your upper body that will be working much harder during your recovery period.
This extra activity will also help to reduce the overall risk associated with your procedure, as the best candidates are those that maintain a healthy weight. Other healthy habits to consider picking up prior to your knee replacement surgery include:
- Reducing or entirely quitting smoking.
- Not consuming alcohol for at least 48 hours before your procedure.
- Eating a balanced and nutritious diet.
- Reporting any sort of illness, as a compromised immune system could greatly increase your risk for joint replacement.
Preparing Your Home For Knee Replacement Recovery
Once your designated caretaker safely delivers you home after your procedure, you are going to need some help getting around and completing daily functions for several weeks. Even if you have someone to take care of you while you recover, there are a few extra things you can do around the house to make this transition a bit easier:
- Prepare meals for the next two weeks by cooking them ahead of time. Freezing food is an excellent way to make it last longer, and you can also keep fresh foods on hand for the first few days after surgery when you just need to grab something quickly and avoid cooking.
- Make sure all paths are clear of cluttered furniture or rugs that you may trip over. Remember: you’re also going to have crutches that you will need to account for as well.
- Modify your bathroom to make it accessible for you. This typically involves the installation of grab bars, a shower seat, and a higher toilet seat to reduce the strain on your knees when you sit.
- Prepare an armchair or couch as your designated recovery area. Your mobility is going to be limited, which will keep you in one place throughout most of your healing process. Complete this area by having everything you need (your phone, a water bottle, tissues, etc.) at arm’s reach on a nearby stand or coffee table.
- Go around your home and place items that you frequently use at arm level. If you do need to reach for something, utilize an extendable grabbing tool.
The Day Of Your Surgery
As always, there are going to be things that pop up at the last minute before your knee replacement. Before you make your way to the hospital for surgery, you should be showered and free of makeup or nail polish. It is ideal to wash with an antibacterial soap either the night before or the morning of your procedure to reduce the risk of infection at the surgical site. There is also no need to shave the knee, as this will be done at the hospital.
It is also advised to pack a bag full of items you can use at the hospital, such as:
- A comfortable pair of non-slip shoes – slippers are often recommended for easy maneuvering. A zippered jacket may also be nice to have for when you are leaving the hospital to return home.
- Lightweight and comfortable clothing to wear under your hospital gown if it is your preference.
- A book or device to read off of.
- Personal items like your hairbrush, glasses case, etc.
- Any necessary paperwork, like that mentioned above.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Your entire surgical staff is here to help you. If you are confused or nervous about any part of the procedure, it is important to speak up and educate yourself using materials and resources offered by your doctor.
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