If you are in severe pain or experiencing worsening loss of mobility due to osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions, you may be focusing on preparing for your surgery and you may not be able to think much beyond that date.
This is understandable. But, did you know that aftercare is an important part of the treatment process?
This applies as much to surgery after injuries as it does for degenerative conditions. By aftercare we mean both the care that is provided by your orthopaedic team during your rehabilitation and the care that you provide for yourself to help you to make the best possible recovery.
Aftercare from your orthopaedic team
Aftercare is a key focus for Go Orthopaedics. Immediately after surgery, we will support you to get up and about as quickly as possible. We will ensure that you are given appropriate pain-killers, anti-inflammatory medication and wound-care, including advising you what to do once you go home to keep the wound clean and dry. You may be referred to the physiotherapy team, who will be able to recommend exercises to build strength in your muscles and help you to regain mobility. Before you leave hospital, we will provide you with whatever walking aids you need (crutches, walker or walking stick) along with any other medical equipment to support your recovery.
In the weeks and months after surgery, you will be invited to attend a post-surgery check-up to make sure that everything is healing as expected. At any time, you will be able to call one of our helpful, friendly staff for advice and reassurance. And, of course, if you are worried, you will be able to come back into the clinic to see one of the orthopaedic surgeons.
One patient recently commented: “I would like to thank you for all your kindness and care from my first appointment to my last. You explained everything in detail which I appreciated, especially on my last appointment when you showed me the before op and after op pictures of my knee which illustrated how bad my knee was before you actually operated.
Thank you so much, I am able to enjoy life again without walking with constant pain as well as doing my job (which includes physical intervention training), without worrying about the pain I would be in afterwards.”
At home aftercare
Of course, you play an important role in your own aftercare and your orthopaedic team will advise you on what you need to do to support your recovery.
In the early days this may involve caring for the incision site. It is important to keep wounds clean and dry, so your surgeon will recommend when it is safe to start showering and bathing again. You should avoid using perfumed soaps or lotions while your wound is healing.
During your rehabilitation you may need to take painkillers but you should avoid aspirin or ibuprofen as these can cause bleeding. Be careful to avoid doing anything too strenuous or driving until your surgeon tells you it is safe to do so. There are also steps you can take to reduce swelling, such as keeping the affected limb elevated above the level of your heart, or using a cold compress.
Be sure to use whatever medical equipment has been recommended, such as splints or slings, to support your limb while it heals. It is important, too, to do any exercises that have been recommended by your physiotherapist as these can prevent stiffness and help to build muscle strength and restore flexibility.
Eating healthy, nutritious food and staying well-hydrated is important at any time but particularly after surgery. You should avoid smoking as this can slow your healing and increase the risk of infection.
If at any point you are worried, or feel that you are not recovering as well as you should, it is important to talk to your orthopaedic surgeon. If you experience a high temperature, worsening pain, numbness, redness around the incision site or unpleasant-smelling discharge it is important to seek immediate medical help.
Planning your aftercare
Ironically, the best time to think about your aftercare is before you have surgery. This is because it gives you time to plan and make the necessary arrangements.
We will talk to you in detail about this prior to surgery, so you are fully aware from the start exactly what will happen.
Joint replacement surgery | London
Mr Vivek Gulati is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon with the expertise to perform joint replacement surgery for you and provide the very best aftercare.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The London Clinic – 116 Harley Street, London, W1G 7JL, Directions
BMI The London Independent Hospital, 1 Beaumont Square, Stepney Green, London, E1 4NL, Directions
Our Consultation Fees are clearly presented here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your treatment options with a specialist, please contact the team.