Upon Arrival at the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute
The Surgical Procedure
Your orthopedic surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and bone, then position new metal, plastic or ceramic joint surfaces to restore the alignment and function of your hip.
Many different types of designs and materials are currently used in artificial hip joints. All of them consist of two basic components: the ball component (made of a highly polished strong metal or ceramic material) and the socket component (a durable cup of plastic, ceramic or metal, which may have an outer metal shell). Special surgical cement may be used to fill the gap between the prosthesis and remaining natural bone to secure the artificial joint. A non-cemented prosthesis has also been developed and is used most often in younger, more active patients with strong bone. The prosthesis may be coated with textured metal or a special bone-like substance, which allows bone to grow into the prosthesis. A combination of a cemented ball and a non-cemented socket may be used. Your orthopedic surgeon will choose the type of prosthesis that best meets your needs.
After surgery, you will be moved to the recovery room where you will remain while your recovery from anesthesia is monitored. After you awaken fully, you will be taken to your inpatient, private room. After surgery, you will feel pain in your hip. Pain medication will be given to make you as comfortable as possible. To avoid lung congestion after surgery, you will be asked to breathe deeply and cough frequently. Walking and light activity are important to your recovery and will begin the day of or the day after your surgery. Most hip replacement patients begin standing and walking with the help of a walking support and a physical therapist the day after surgery. The physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to strengthen your hip and restore movement for walking and other normal daily activities.
Call, Don't Fall
One of the highest risks for complications associated with joint replacement surgery is the danger of patients falling after surgery.
"Patients who have joint replacement surgery have typically experienced significant pain for prolonged periods of time. When they wake up post-operatively, they are suddenly pain-free due to the anesthesia and pain medication used in their operations and post-operativley,” said Kim Beekmann, R.N., CJRI’s executive director. “When they first try to stand, they often find themselves very unsteady.”
From pre-surgery classes through surgical preparations, CJRI staff stress to patients that regardless of their age or condition, they are at risk to fall following surgery.
“When patients come in for their surgery, we partner with them and family members by asking them to sign a pledge stating that they are aware that they are at risk of falling and that they will promise to give us a call anytime they need to mobilize — getting in or out of bed, a chair or the bathroom, so we can assist them,” Ms. Beekmann said. Patients are reminded of this pledge by staff at eight-hour intervals following surgery and through a message on the communication boards in their rooms that reads: Call — Don’t Fall.
In a further step to prevent patient falls, the beds on CJRI’s post-operative units are equipped with special monitors. "The beds are weight-activated so that if a certain percentage of the patient’s weight is lifted off the bed, it will trigger an alarm at the nursing station so that staff can come to make sure they have the assistance they need,” Ms. Beekmann said.
Total knee, hip, and shoulder replacement surgery, as well as other surgical and non-surgical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis of the joints.