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What to Expect

What to Expect 

Once you and your physician have decided that joint replacement surgery is the right option for you, it is time to plan for your procedure, recovery and rehabilitation. Your nurse case manager will be your first point of contact and will remain available to you each step of the way as you work through the recovery process.

Pre-Surgical Planning

Your nurse case manager will begin mapping out your treatment and recovery plan including post-operative arrangements. He or she can also help you prepare required health insurance paperwork and review pre-operative planning steps such as diet and exercise plans or on-site sessions with a Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic rehabilitation specialist.

This is also the time to enroll in your pre-operative educational class. When you choose your session, it is a good idea to bring the family member or friend who will be helping you after your surgery so that both of you learn what to anticipate during your recovery period.

Prior to Your Surgery

Prior to your surgery, you will need to coordinate with Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic for pre-admission testing, lab work and any required imaging procedures. On the day before your procedure, you will receive a call giving you your specific surgery time and your required arrival time.

The Day of Your Surgery

On the day of your surgery, you should bring as few personal belongings as possible. You will need a photo ID and your insurance card when you check in at registration.

Once you are registered, you and your family member or friend can have a seat in the surgical waiting room until it is time for your pre-operative preparations. At that time, you will be escorted to the pre-op area to meet with your surgical team, begin an IV, and be prepped for your procedure. One of our anesthesiologists will be available to discuss your anesthesia options and determine which is best for you.

Following surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit where you will remain for an hour or two. There, specially trained nurses will evaluate your condition, assess your pain level, and give you medications to make you comfortable. Your family member(s) or friend will be invited to join you when you are moved to an inpatient hospital room.

Your Inpatient Stay

The morning after your surgery, you will have your dressings changed and begin a gradual program of inpatient physical and occupational therapy with our trained on site specialists. Therapy sessions will focus on navigating normal daily activities such as walking, getting in and out of bed, and getting to the bathroom. When you are medically stable and able to get around with a walker or crutches, you will be ready for discharge and at-home recovery.

At discharge, your nurse case manager will go over your home care guidelines, answer any questions you may have, and help you to arrange any necessary in-home assistance.

Your Return Home

When you return home following your surgery and inpatient stay, you will have all of the information you need to continue your recovery and rehabilitation, including directions on how to change dressings, detailed instructions for any pain medications prescribed and a handout on at-home exercises to be performed.

The weeks following joint replacement surgery are a crucial phase of your recovery. During this period you will work to regain the functionality needed to resume normal activities. Your recovery plan may include any combination of outpatient rehabilitative services, including physical and occupational therapy sessions. At-home exercises will be outlined in detail and are an important component in increasing joint functionality.

Throughout this phase, your nurse case manager will continue to be your point of contact, available to answer any questions about your at-home recovery steps and to make necessary follow up appointments for you.

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