After knee surgery, the wound will be covered with a bulky dressing. Nursing staff will remove this and apply a small waterproof opsite dressing with a tubigrip on top. After 24 hours, you can have a shower. Simply remove the tubigrip and avoid getting too much water directly on to the opsite dressing. If the dressing needs to be changed prior to your follow-up visit, you will be given instructions about this before going home. In general, the less the wound is interfered with, the better. For further information please read the specific procedure. The wound for hip surgery will just have a waterproof dressing applied and it is fine to shower with this, again by avoid too much direct contact with water.
Avoid prolonged car journeys as these will exacerbate any swelling. Don't forget about regular ice and elevation of the affected limb as much as possible.
Going home You must be accompanied by a responsible adult who will stay overnight. Do not drink alcohol, take sedative type drugs, drive or operate machinery.
If needed, you will be provided with a prescription for some simple analgesia including paracetamol combined with codeine and an anti-inflammatory tablet such as diclofenac. Otherwise just over the counter paracetamol should suffice.
This is quite common following joint replacement surgery and is at least in part a side effect of opioid type pain killers. Please ensure that you drink plenty of fluids, eat plenty of fibre in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables and if need be, a gentle laxative such as lactulose can be taken.
Most patients will be followed up 2 weeks after their procedure to ensure that their wounds have healed and to have a talk about the operation itself. However this will depend on the nature of your surgery and your distance from the clinic. You should receive this appointment prior to discharge but if for some reason you do not, please feel free to contact Ann-Marie to schedule one.
It is normal to become easily fatigued after an operation, particularly a hip or knee replacement. Please ensure that you get enough quality sleep, don't expect too much of yourself early on and try to eat healthily to allow your body to recover. A multivitamin and mineral may well help but isn't essential if you eat well.
This is ultimately a decision between you and your employer. Please see individual procedures for guides to return for both sedentary and manual jobs. We will happily identify any impairments you may have and give you a list of restrictions that can help you make this decision. Also don't forget to think about how you normally get to and from work when deciding.
The general advice (e.g by the Royal College of Surgeons) is to avoid flying for 6-12 weeks due to the heightened risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism after surgery. In reality, short haul flights such as those to the UK pose very little additional risk following surgery. Likewise European flights should be low-risk if necessary after 6 weeks. If you are planning a long haul flight and especially if you have a history of any clotting disorders, you may wish to discuss taking a medication to help reduce the clotting risk with your general practitioner or reschedule the trip. Simple preventative measures such as mobilising as much as possible during the flight, staying well hydrated, avoiding excessive alcohol and keeping performing simple calf exercises while sitting are even more important in flying passengers who have recently had surgery.
See individual procedures for further advice. As a guide, driving is not recommended for 6 weeks following a hip or knee replacement. If for example, you have an automatic car and your left leg was operated on, you may be able to drive a little sooner. Before driving, you should not be distracted by any pain from the surgery and should not be taking any medications that could have a sedative effect. You should be able to sit comfortably in the driving position and practice performing an emergency stop beforehand. It is also important to contact your insurance company as some insurers may impose their own restrictions.
The OCP can be restarted at your first period occurring at least 2 weeks after your surgery.