Orthopedic Surgery Tips

We asked our members for some tips
regarding orthopedic surgery, as always, they came through for us:

Ask lots of questions
beforehand. How long is surgery? Will joint be immobilized and for how
long. Expected recovery time. Need for physio. Pain and meds available
to treat it. Potential side effects -Chester

Make sure you learn about
the surgery. Know what the risks are and keep to your recovery. Work
hard through your recovery. But don’t over due it.
My replacements over the years have been a blessing for me, I would not
be where I am today without them. -Aaron

get a second opinion if in
learn all you can ahead…read and ask questions of your Drs and others
who have had it previously, because it is good to know the technical as
well as the daily living/practical aspects -Blondie

Find a good orthopedic
surgeon. Not just good at surgery but one who is sympathetic to what is
going on with your arthritis, etc. Surgeons tend to think if they can’t
cut on it they don’t have to worry about it. It’s important to find one
who will listen to what you have to say and include you in all
decisions. -Sharon

Don’t let the surgeon tell
you, you are too young. There is no such thing when you are bone on
bone. -Char

Research as much as

In my opinion, hip surgery
is well worth having; and my knee replacement has done quite well. As
for the hand and foot surgeries, I haven’t benefitted that much from
them. Anyone considering any such surgeries should research the surgeons
thoroughly. The first hand surgeon I had caused more damage to my

DON’T settle for just any
surgeon/doctor.I have had arthritis since I was 19,I am now 48,and you
would not believe the horrible,uncaring,uneducated doctors I have run
across.One even told my husband it was all in my head!! There ARE good
OA/RA doctors out there,just keep searching for the “right” one like I did. -Carole

Try other options first.

Think carefully and get
some second opinions. -Toni

Work really hard on
building up the area that is going to be having the surgery, it will
make recovery time a lot less. And after surgery work very hard at
building them back up….takes a lot of work and dedication…but you
can do it! -Pic

Do not try too much too
early. Physical therapy before the operation helped building up muscles;
physical therapy helped afterward. -Judy

Try to be in the best
physical and mental condition as possible. It will certainly help in
your recovery.
When your quality of life deteriorates because of the pain, don’t
hesitate. If replacement surgery is an alternative, go ahead with it. I
suffered for too long simply because I feared the surgery. After having
two successful replacements, I no longer fear the third! -Mary

I really like this one from Chuck: Become a sponge. Soak up as much
knowledge as you can get your hands on. Be patient, but be persistent.

Talk to someone that has been through the surgery to find out details
about the recovery period-Sue

The pain of the surgery its self is not as bad as what we go though with
our RA flaring so don’t be scared. And the doctor know what there doing
trust them. And good luck -Sherri

If you need hip replacement, go for it! I’ve had both of mine since 1978 & 1985. As of today, they’re both still fine. -Jbug

Learn all you can about it. One thing I found out is that it is a two
part thing, them the dr. nurses, and such) and you. Do what they say and
you will be ok -Dee

And from Tina:

Plan ahead and plan for the worst. When planning your recovery period
use the worse case scenario. This will allow you to be prepared for
whatever may happen. If you recover much better than expected, great! If
you end up with every complication possible, you will be prepared!

If you are having lower extremity surgery, strengthen your upper body.
Crutches, walkers, etc can really take a toll on the arms and shoulders.

If someone asks what they can do to help, tell them! Most often they
sincerely want to help, letting them makes things easier on you and
allows them to feel useful.

Have someone organize a meal schedule. My girlfriend called all my
friends, neighbors and relatives and assigned them all an evening to
cook dinner. It is now more than two weeks since my surgery and I
haven’t cooked yet! (I could get real used to that!) And my family is
enjoying the variety of foods we’ve been getting, well almost. Note to
anyone cooking for a friend: don’t do lasagna; everyone does lasagna!

Have any assistive devices and
orthopedic supplies on hand before you go in.

A lawn chair works well as a shower seat.

And like a couple of the others I strongly suggest you learn all you can
before hand, both medically and from the personal experiences of others.
I would have never known about the need for a shower chair or plenty of
duct tape and trash bags to cover my leg when I did shower if I hadn’t
talked to someone who had a similar surgery.

Finally, follow doctor’s orders! There is a reason they give you so many
instructions after your surgery. Do as you are told and your recovery
will be smoother and quicker.

If you have a surgery related tip, please
share it with the rest of us