Surgical Information

Post-Operative Instructions for Total Joint Replacement

(You will receive your customized post-op instructions after your surgery.)

Report the following to your surgeon:

  • Severe or worsening pain
  • Unusual or increasing drainage/bleeding
  • Increasing redness at the incision site
  • Fever greater than 101
  • Persistent nausea/vomiting
  • Signs of Blood clots:
    • Swelling or pain in calf/leg on either side
    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Rapid/unusual heart rate
    • Dizziness or confusion


  • Increase your activity a little every day.  Continue to do your exercises and use your walker, crutches or cane until your doctor tells you to stop.  It’s OK to go up and down stairs.
  • Change your position every hour while awake.  Remember to place a rolled towel under your ankles.
  • Eat your meals with your feet dangling down.  Sitting in a firm chair that has arms will be easier.
  • Go to your physical therapy appointments.  Your doctor will tell you when you are allowed to drive.

Wound Care:

  • Keep the waterproof dressing in place for 7 days then remove and change daily with 4x4 gauze or Primapore (bandaid type) dressing.
  • You may shower, but NO tub baths, whirlpools, pools or hot tubs.
  • Keep incision clean and dry.  Do Not apply any creams or ointments to incision area.

Compression Stockings:

  • Wear your stockings – this will reduce swelling and help to prevent blood clots.
  • You may remove the stockings twice a day for an hour.


  • Take your anticoagulant as directed by your physician.  (Lovenox, Coumadin, Xarelto or Aspirin)
  • If you are on Coumadin make sure to have your blood drawn as prescribed.  The dosage you take will depend on your blood results.
  • Continue until your doctor tells you to stop.
  • If you have problems with bleeding call you doctor.

Pain Medications:

  • Take pain medication as needed.  You may take extra strength Tylenol (acetaminophen) for mild pain instead of your prescription medication.  (Do not exceed maximum daily dose of 3000 mg)
  • DO NOT TAKE non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as Baby Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve
  • Take pain medication 20-30 minutes prior to your physical therapy appointment.
  • REMEMBER – Narcotics can be constipating – drink plenty of fluids.  Stool softeners/laxatives may be used as needed.

Follow-up Appointments:

  • Call your surgeons office for an appointment (usually 14 days after surgery)
  • Implant ID card will be provided.