Once you’ve decided to proceed with joint replacement surgery, many patients will be seen prior to surgery for a pre-operative visit. At this appointment your surgeon will review your medical history and examine you to ensure you are ready for surgery. Part of this medical evaluation often requires routine laboratory testing and further evaluation by a primary care physician. This is particularly important in patients with preexisting medical conditions.
Another important aspect of the pre-operative appointment is education. The first step toward a great outcome after surgery is being prepared and having appropriate post-operative expectations. This information will be covered during this pre-operative appointment. Many institutions have adopted pre-operative educational classes as well to assist with this process.
By improving the pre-operative educational process, there is growing evidence that hospital stays can be shortened, which may allow for an earlier discharge home. For example, some institutions are now able to perform certain joint replacement surgeries and send the patient home that same day. Patient satisfaction tends to improve as patients become better prepared and less fearful of the unknown after surgery.
After surgery, you should have regularly scheduled post-operative appointments as well. These appointments are extremely important to attend to manage your recovery progresses. During these visits, clinical assessments and X-rays are often required. Most orthopedic procedures require extensive physical therapy after surgery. These checkups after surgery are designed to assess your progress during recovery. Some of these milestones are time sensitive and if they aren’t met may require further intervention. So, be committed and take an active role in your recovery process. This includes attending all scheduled appointments!