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Five things to consider before your joint replacement surgery

If you’re planning to replace your knee or hip, wouldn’t it be great if you could just wake up after your surgery and immediately get back to your active lifestyle? The reality is that the operation to replace your joint is only the beginning of the process. There will be an important time of recovery that will vary from person to person based on the type and complexity of the procedure as well as the determination of the patient. Here are five things to consider following orthopedic surgery from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The need for support
Although you may have been able to get around just fine before surgery, you may need to rely on an assistive device after surgery. If the physician instructs you to walk with crutches, a walker or cane, follow his advice even if you feel like you don’t need it. Using an assistive device helps reduce the chance of a fall that could cause serious complications. Devices also make it easier to gradually increase weight to protect the surgical site. It is important to gradually restore normal movement at the pace suggested by your doctor.

Wound care
It is important to properly care for your wound site following surgery. This may require taking preventative antibiotics and changing the dressing following doctor’s orders. Be sure to ask when and if showers can be taken. Take care to check the wound site and alert the doctor to any signs of infections.

Blood clots
After any type of surgery, you are at a greater risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. This is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein. If this clot breaks free, it can flow through the body and block blood flowing to the heart or lungs which can lead to damage or death. The risk for developing blood clots is greatest during the two weeks following surgery. Your doctor may prescribe blood thinners to reduce your risk, require elevation or gentle exercise of the legs or tell you to wear support hose.

Pain management
It is realistic to expect some pain following surgery but there are many medications that can help manage this pain so you remain comfortable. Many doctors use a combination of different pain relief methods including injections, tablets and epidurals to provide the best relief.

Physical therapy
Many people are surprised to find out that therapy may begin the same day as your surgery. Therapy may continue for several day or weeks. It is important to take therapy seriously in order to restore normal movement in your joint. By completing the series of exercises, you will build strength in the muscles surrounding the joint as well as in the joint itself. An added benefit of exercise is that it often reduces pain and swelling as well as reduces the chance of blood clots. It is imperative to follow guidelines given to you. Too much therapy or too little therapy can affect your recovery. Even though you may feel ready to go on your own, continue to work with the therapist for the best results.

Work with experts
There are many things to remember following orthopedic surgery. Use your cane, take your medicine, elevate your leg, change your dressing, complete a new series of exercise every day and get rest but not too much rest. Recovery can be even more stressful with poorly managed pain. Instead of hoping that you are doing everything right, consider relying on a team of experts to help you experience the best recovery possible. Whitehall of Deerfield offers this level of expertise in its Elective Orthopedic Pavilion, a luxury destination for post-hospital rehabilitation. Since no two people have the same set of needs, therapy sessions are conducted one-on-one so that the physical therapists can focus on your specific needs and continually encourage you to push forward to reach your personal goals. Therapy sessions are held in a state-of-the-art orthopedic gym specially designed for orthopedic surgery recovery.

The attentive staff also expertly assists with pain management and makes sure all medications and blood thinners are taken on schedule to reduce complications.

At Whitehall of Deerfield’s Elective Orthopedic Pavilion, guests enjoy all-private rooms with luxurious amenities including concierge service, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper, dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies, an iPad lending service, valet parking for visitors and much more. Guests can also enjoy a wide-ranging choice of cuisine from selective menus as well as a variety of dining settings.

Don’t leave your recovery to chance. Choose to recover from your orthopedic surgery at Whitehall of Deerfield for a quick and safe return to normal life. To learn more or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

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