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Post - operative Joint Replacement Instructions

Your doctor will give you specific postoperative instructions depending on your type of surgery. Here are some of the basic general instructions you need to follow after any surgery:

  • Take pain-relieving and other medications as advised. Pain-relieving medication should be taken with food. After the first 48 hours of surgery, take the pain medication only when needed.
  • Do not drink alcohol, drive a vehicle, operate any machinery, or sign a legal document for the first 24 hours after the surgery as the effects of the sedative and/or the anesthesia administered during the surgery may last for the first 24 hours of the surgery.
  • Use ice or a cooling device to control swelling. However, make sure that the ice bag does not leak into the dressing. Ice packs or a cooling device can be used liberally for the first 48 hours and even later if required.
  • Follow the specific restriction of activity, as advised. Remember that it is easier to prevent developing pain rather than managing it once it has already developed. Rest for a few days after the surgery and keep the operated extremity elevated, above the level of your heart, to control swelling.
  • Keep the dressing clean and dry to promote wound healing.
  • Try to begin physical therapy a day or two after the surgery. Exercises in the first week are usually aimed at regaining joint motion. Strengthening exercises are initiated later. Regular exercises are critical for a successful outcome.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks.
  • Schedule your follow-up appointment with your doctor as advised.

Dr. Ward’s medications list for at home after surgery

FOR REFERENCE ONLY - Please follow directions on the bottles or as doctor prescribed.

  • ASPIRIN 81mg - 1 pill two times per day for 30 days
  • OMEPRAZOLE 20mg- 1 pill every day for 30 days with morning Aspirin
  • BUPROFEN 400mg - 1 pill 3-4 times per day ( 6-8 hours)
  • TYLENOL 500mg - 1,000mg together with 400mg of Ibuprofen up to 3-4 times per day (6-8 hours)
  • OXYCODONE 5mg - 1 tablet as needed every 4 hours
  • ZOFRAN (Ondansetron HCL) 4mg - 1 tablet “as needed” every 6 hours for post operative nausea and vomiting
  • COLACE 100mg - 1 pill daily until you are “no longer” taking narcotic pain medications. Take first dose tonight after dinner.
  • MIRALAX 17g - mixed in drink of choice, daily “as needed” to resume your normal bowel habits.

If GI upset occurs taking multiple medications together, space the timing out and take them with food.

Please consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Increased drainage from the incision
  • Increased redness around the operated area
  • Increased swelling that does not decrease with ice and elevation
  • Foul odor
  • Fever greater than 101°F
  • Coldness, numbness, or blanched white or bluish color of the fingers or toes
  • Sudden calf pain or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

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