Although joint replacements are often extremely successful, it is important to be aware of certain post-surgical complications that can arise. Seek medical attention immediately if you are concerned about your new joint replacement or your overall health status.
Some complications that could arise are:
An infection is caused by bacteria growing in the wound. Seek medical attention if you have:
- Increased swelling, pain or redness
- Increased amount of drainage
- Foul odor
- Temperature > 101
- Wound breaks open
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT/Blood clot)
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT/Blood clot) is a clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Seek medical attention if you have:
- Severe pain or tenderness in the leg or arm
- Increased warmth in the area of the leg/arm that is swollen or painful
- Red or discolored skin on the leg/arm
Constipation is hard formed stool or difficult passage of bowel movements. To prevent constipation, you can:
- Increase fiber in your diet
- Increase your activity
- Drink fluids
- Consider a bowel regimen (including medications) laxatives, suppositories, or enemas as needed
Home Safety Guidelines
At discharge, two medications will be prescribed:
- Aspirin: prescribed as prevention for blood clots. Side effects can include:
- Belly pain
- Upset stomach
- Pain Medication: prescribed based on your pain needs at discharge. Side effects can include:
- Upset stomach
Take medications only as prescribed by your physician. DO NOT take any anti-inflammatory medications while on blood thinners unless ordered by your physician.
It is important to follow up as directed by your orthopaedic surgeon. At your follow-up appointments you can expect that x-rays will be done, your incision will be examined for signs of proper healing and staples will be removed.
To schedule your follow-up appointment, please call Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers at (859) 301-2663. Your appointment should take place between 7 and 14 days following surgery.
Some patients may be asked to follow up with their primary care physician as well as schedule their outpatient/home physician therapy sessions.
Please follow these guidelines regarding your incision:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- The dressing applied to your incision is waterproof; therefore, if you go home with a dressing in place, you may shower on the day after you return home. However, avoid baths, hot tubs and swimming pools until directed by your physician.
- The dressing should be removed the day after you get home from the hospital and left open to air; however, leave the steri-strips in place. If your incision is still draining, cover it with gauze and change twice daily until the drainage stops.
- DO NOT apply creams, powders, lotions or medications to your incision area.
Please follow these instructions following surgery:
- The sling should be on at all times when in public or sleeping.
- You may remove the sling three times per day to move the elbow, wrist and fingers.
- You can remove the sling for showering, but it must be put back on immediately upon completion.
- Avoid using the operative hand for activities of daily living.