After surgery

Immediate Post-Operative Phase

Following your surgery, you will go to the recovery room which is called the Post Anesthesia Care Unit or PACU. You can expect to be there for at least an hour.

While in the PACU, we will watch you very closely. When you are ready you will be placed in your hospital bed and transferred to the 6th floor that specializes in Orthopedics.

Recovery from joint replacement surgery can vary between individuals. Some patients may progress faster than others.

Our team of health care professionals will work with you to make sure your recovery program is what's best for you.

You might be sleepy the first night following your surgery due to medications and anesthesia. However, even though you may be sleepy, we may get you out of bed the first evening.

Our goal is to control your pain as much as possible. Depending on your specific needs, many patients receive nerve blocks which will decrease your pain after surgery. With a nerve block, you will not need as much pain medicaitons by mouth or IV. Other patients may receive patient controlled analgesia or PCA. The PCA machine allows you to control your own pain relief by pushing a button.  It is regulated so that it will not give you too much or too little pain medication.

We will be checking your vital signs - blood pressure, pulse, temperature and your surgical bandage frequently the night of your surgery. They will regularly ask you to rate your pain on a 0 to 10 scale, with 0 being no pain and 10 being terrible pain. Please let your nurse, physician assistant or surgeon know if the nerve block or medications we are giving you are not controlling your pain. We will work with you to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible.

Usually an ice pack is placed on your surgical bandage to help to lessen the amount of swelling.

We ask that each family designate one individual to act as a contact person.  This preserves your privacy and limits phone calls, allowing your nurse to spend more time caring for you. The contact person may call the unit day or night for information regarding your progress.   They should ask for the nurse who is caring for you. We ask that the family contact person try not to call during change of shift times, which are 7am, 3pm, 7pm and 11 pm.  These times are especially busy for the nursing staff.

University Hospital recognizes that open visitation plays an important role in a patient's healing and recovery. Family and friends are welcome to visit often while their loved ones are in the hospital. Visiting privileges are not restricted or denied unless medically necessary.

At this point the most common questions is - when can I start to eat? Depending on how you feel after surgery, you may receive sips of liquid. Usually on the first day after your surgery you will be feeling much better.

You will sit up in a chair and be asked to bathe yourself with the assistance of our health care team members . Our team will also continue to monitor your progress.

A physical therapist will visit you in your room to review the exercises you can do and may assist the nursing staff in getting you out of bed.

Usually by the second day after your surgery, we will stop your PCA. At this point you'll need to let your nurse know when you require pain medication. We will change your dressing and remove your IV line as well.