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What to Expect During Your Stay

Day of Surgery

You will be on bedrest today, unless your surgery was scheduled for early in the day.   If you had your surgery early in the day, you will get up in the chair that evening.  It is important that you do your bed exercises.  The staff will remind you to do your bed exercises every 2 hours while you are in bed.  Be sure to use the trapeze on your bed to change your position and move.

Your diet will be advanced to a regular diet as soon as you can tolerate solid food.

A respiratory therapist or your nurse will show you how to use an incentive spirometry device (IS).   Use it ever 2 hours while awake.  You will be asked to use the IS every hour if you have a temperature greater than 101.  You will need to cough and deep breathe every 2 hours.  This is important because it helps to increase lung expansion, minimize the development of pneumonia and helps the lungs get rid of the anesthesia.

You will have an IV for the next few days.   Your pain medication will be given via epidural, PCA (patient controlled anesthesia device) or by an injection into your muscle.  Pain control is very important.  You will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10.  This is important for the nurses to know if you are receiving adequate pain control.  Please let your nurse know if your pain is not controlled.  If your pain is under control you will be able to cough, turn, deep breath, and participate in your therapies.

You may return from surgery with a “Continuous Passive Motion” (CPM) or have it applied the afternoon of surgery or first thing in the morning.   Keep the CPM on as much as you can during the day, with only brief rest periods.  You will have elastic stockings on both legs and inflatable plastic sleeves.  They will be removed for a short time every day.  The plastic sleeves and elastic stocking are important because they promise circulation by “milking” the legs and prevent development of blood clots.

Post-op Day 1

The lab will visit you early in the morning to draw your blood.

Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) will work with you today.   You will have 2 sessions today with PT and OT.  PT will review isometric and bed exercises.  You will dangle your legs and get up from the bed to the chair with the walker.  Your CPM will progressively increase as ordered by the doctor.  OT will do an evaluation and work on lower extremity dressing.  Be sure to do your bed exercises every 2 hours!

Your diet will be advanced to a general diet if you have been tolerating food okay.

Your drainage device will be removed today or tomorrow depending on the amount of drainage.

The nursing staff will help you with your bed bath.

What is your pain score today?   Are you comfortable enough to move, eat, and rest?  You may receive your blood thinner as well as your other medications.

Post-op Day 2

The lab will be in to visit you early in the morning to draw your blood.

PT will see you twice a day and once on the weekends.   PT will work with you today on gait training with knee precautions.  Your CPM will be increased as tolerated.  You will be walking twice a day.  OT will be working with you to strengthen your upper extremities.

Your IV, PCA or epidural will be discontinued early today.   Ask for your oral pain medication every 4 hours if you need it.  Your nurse will still be monitoring your pain control.

If you have a foley catheter, it will be discontinued.   A bedside commode will be brought to your room.  Do you need a laxative?  The doctor has left orders if you need something for constipation.  The staff will assist you when walking to the commode.

Continue to use your IS every 2 hours.

Keep your elastic stockings on continuously and the plastic sleeves on while in bed.   Your dressing will be changed daily.  Ask the nurse about signs and symptoms of infection and blood clots.

You should be on your regular diet and should sit up in the chair for all of your meals.

Post-op Day 3

The lab will be in again early this morning to draw your blood.

PT will walk you longer distances and continue to work with you to increase your CPM.    You will be instructed on stair steps and getting in and out of the car.  OT will continue practicing bathing and dressing techniques to reinforce safety of your new knee.

Your plastic leg sleeves will be removed but continue wearing your elastic stockings - even when you go home.

The best evaluation of your pain comes from you.   Can you move, eat, and rest?  If not, please tell your nurse or doctor.  Pain control is very important.

You will do most of your bed bath.

Please ask for assistance when walking to the bathroom.

Continue to use your IS device.

The discharge planning nurse will be in to finalize your discharge planning needs.