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Recovering from orthopaedic surgery

Now that your hip, knee or shoulder replacement surgery is done, it's time to work on your recovery. Your schedule for the next few days will be pretty full.

Visitors are welcome, but they should plan to visit in late afternoon or evening. Your coach is encouraged to be with you as much as possible during your hospital stay. Aside from keeping you company, your coach will use this time to learn how to take care of you once you arrive home.

Here's what you can expect during your stay at Great Plains Health.

One day after surgery

Catheters, dressings and drains

Your Foley catheter will be removed early in the morning. If you don't urinate in the following sixhours, be sure to tell your nurse.

The large dressing over your incision will stay in place today, unless your surgeon requests a change.

You may have a drain that was inserted during surgery. It is secured with tape and fastened to your dressing. It's normal to see some bloody drainage. The drain will stay in place until your surgeon says it's OK to take it out, usually two days after surgery.

Getting up and moving

An occupational or physical therapist will help you get dressed in your own clothes.

With some help, you'll be able to walk to the restroom and sit up in a chair.

If you had a hip or knee replacement, a therapist will show you how to use a walker, and you'll start taking short, assisted walks in the halls. Over the next few days, you'll increase the distance you walk and work on bending your new joint. But you shouldn't walk alone. During your stay, always call for help before getting out of a bed or chair.

If you had a shoulder replacement, your arm will be immobilized. This may affect your balance. So during your stay, always call for help before getting out of a bed or chair.

Checking on your progress

Your surgeon or the surgeon’s assistant will stop by to check on your condition.

A case manager will contact you to start planning your return home.

Managing pain and preventing clots

Depending upon your progress, your IV pain medications may be replaced with oral pain medications.

Continue to do your ankle pumps throughout the day.

Two days after surgery

Getting up and moving

The staff will be in early to help you get out of bed and get dressed. You'll enjoy a good breakfast before starting the rest of your day.

Continue to do your ankle pumps throughout the day.

If you had a hip or knee replacement, your therapist may meet you for a walk before the morning group exercise class. You may even go up and down a few stairs. After your morning exercise class, you'll enjoy a group lunch with other patients and coaches. While you're eating, a short class will be given about going home. Group exercise will begin again after lunch.

If you had a shoulder replacement, your therapist will visit you for daily exercises.

Dressings and drains

Your surgeon will change your dressing today, replacing it with a smaller, less bulky one.

If there is a drain attached to the dressing, it will likely be removed today, unless the surgeon asks for it to be left in place.

Checking on your progress

A pharmacist will visit you to talk about blood thinners and answer any questions you may have about your medications.

If you had a hip or knee replacement, a case manager will finalize your plans to go home and talk over any concerns you may have. Some patients are able to go home on this day. Others will stay for another night.

If you had a shoulder replacement, you should be able to go home today. A case manager will finalize your plans and talk over any concerns you may have. Nursing staff will instruct you and your coach on physical therapy, home equipment, follow-up appointments, contact numbers, restrictions and incision care.

Three days after surgery

Getting up and moving

If you're still in the hospital after a knee or hip replacement, your schedule will be pretty much the same as yesterday—except you'll walk a little further, go a little faster and climb stairs like a pro.

Going home

Before leaving the hospital, you'll be given written instructions covering things like medications, physical therapy, activity, home equipment, home health services, contact numbers and when to follow up with your surgeon.

Have a question about your hospital stay?

Call Great Plains Orthopaedics in North Platte at 308.568.3800 to speak with one of our experienced staff members.

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