Total Joint Surgery Information

Old couple walkingHip or knee replacement surgery has the power to transform your life. We’ve provided this content and downloadable information to make preparing for—and recovering from—your hip or knee surgery as safe and trouble-free as possible.

It’s our goal to provide you with the best outcome and shortest recovery time so you can return to the activities you love. If you have questions or need to get in touch, please contact 503 418-8889.

What is knee replacement?

Knee replacement involves the removal of the damaged and worn cartilage and bone, which is then replaced with metal and plastic.

You may be a good candidate for a knee replacement if you’ve had severe arthritis, but have still been able to maintain your activity level.

What is hip replacement?

Hip replacement involves the removal of the damaged and worn cartilage and bone and replacement of your joint with metal and plastic. Restoring proper leg lengths and removal of bone spurs (osteophytes) is also performed.

Preparing for your knee replacement surgery

Preparing for your hip replacement surgery

About your surgery team

Your care will be provided by a multidisciplinary team. That means a group of health care professionals with expertise in many different medical specialties will be caring for you. This includes:

  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Nurses
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Physician assistants
  • Resident physicians

Our entire team is located on our state-of-the-art orthopaedic specialty ward. This ward was specifically designed to maximize your comfort and recovery. It is equipped with a physical therapy gym as well as a car simulator to facilitate your transition from the hospital to home.

Joint Surgery Guide

Joint Surgery GuideInformation for patients having total hip replacement, hip resurfacing, total knee replacement or joint revision surgery, our guide will help you plan for your surgery, post-surgery rehabilitation and recovery.

Download your Joint Surgery Guide

Additional patient information

Pre-operation information

Preparing for your surgery

You can prepare for your surgery well in advance of the actual procedure. To make your recovery easier, some simple things you can do include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight
  • Eating healthy food
  • Managing any existing medical problems, such as hypertension and diabetes
  • Staying as active as possible

What will I need to have after my surgery?

You will need to get items for care after your surgery, including:

  • A front-wheel, adjustable walker
  • Cane
  • Raised toilet seat
  • Ice pack

Pre-op patient handouts

Post-operation information

Will I have pain after surgery?

After your surgery, your pain will be controlled in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Regional nerve blocks – these block pain by placing medication near the nerves which affect a certain part of your body
  • Oral medications
  • IV pain medication

When you are home, take pain medications only when needed, not on a rigid schedule. If you are sleeping, you should not set an alarm to wake you up so you can take more. Pain medication should only be taken when you are awake and feeling discomfort.

When can I remove my bandages?

Leave PICO dressing intact until battery begins to alarm or you reach post operative day #7, then remove. You can leave wound open to air or cover as you desire. You may shower immediately. Do not expose battery pack to direct water stream.

Why am I on a blood thinner?

Thinning your blood after a hip or knee surgery is normal and recommended by several national health guidelines. It is done to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. Blood clots can travel from the legs to the heart and lungs: This is a life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism.

Support

You will need to have a friend, family member or caregiver who will be available and able to help you after your surgery. It is best to have someone who can be there for 24 hours a day the first few days after your surgery.

Activities

After surgery, you may find everyday activities, such as getting dressed and using the bathroom, a lot more difficult. Safety devices, such as a shower chair or raised toilet seat can help. Also, if you will need to take the stairs at home, make sure your stairs have a solid arm railing.

When will I start physical therapy? [KNEE]

Pain management, swelling control and dedication to achieving a range of motion with daily exercises is the key to success in knee replacement surgery. You will either start physical therapy before your surgery or right after. A continuous passive motion machine (CPM) is used to control swelling and initiate motion.

Your physical therapist will teach you how to do in-bed stretching and strengthening exercises. Therapists will also assist you with standing and walking. You will be taught to walk with a walker and how to maneuver stairs.

When will I start physical therapy?[Hip]

Pain management, swelling control and dedication to achieving a range of motion with daily exercises is the key to success in hip replacement surgery. Your physical therapy plan will be determined by your level of function.
Once you are home from the hospital, you should still continue to do the exercises you did in the hospital and work on walking, but you won’t need to go to outpatient physical therapy until about six weeks after your surgery. This is so your hip capsule can continue to heal.

Recovery

Moving around is one of the most important things you can do after surgery.

Walking helps increase blood flow, flexibility, muscle strength, balance and endurance. Your team will work with you to set up a walking schedule that can help. You will also need to do exercises at home that will increase joint mobility and promote complete healing.

It is good to challenge yourself, but please progress safely and with input from your health care team.

When will I be able to drive? [KNEE]

You will likely be able to drive about a month after surgery, providing you:

  • Walk well with a cane
  • Have stopped pain medication
  • Have good control of your leg

When will I be able to drive? [HIP]

You will likely be able to drive about a month after surgery, providing you:

  • Walk well with a cane
  • Have stopped pain medication
  • Have good control of your leg

Rehabilitation and Post-op Instructions

Medicare CJR Program

The Medicare CJR program is a new Medicare program in which your health care providers work together to give you the best care and control costs. With CJR, you benefit when your surgeon, hospital, care center, home health nurse or physical therapist, and main doctor all work together. To learn more read our CJR Fact Sheet.

The first year of the 5-year CJR pilot program concluded in April, 2017. In May, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that OHSU met its year 1 goals. One of the outstanding metrics in this report is OHSU's quality score, which was 19.65, ranking OHSU as excellent in the "performance category." This means that OHSU exceeded the threshold for being rated "excellent", which is a score of 13.2, by a significant margin.