Preparing for Joint Replacement

Take an active role in your care by following these tips for preparing for joint replacement surgery at Essentia Health.

Manage Your Health

The healthier you are when you go into surgery, the more likely you are to have a smooth recovery. Reduce your risk of complications by making sure you’re physically ready for surgery.

  • If you use tobacco, stop as soon as possible. Smoking affects your body’s ability to heal. Learn about resources to help you quit smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink six to eight glasses of water per day.
  • Have a dental check-up and complete any necessary dental work before surgery.
  • Maintain or achieve a weight that supports a healthy recovery. If extra weight places too much stress on your joints, your doctor may recommend a medical weight loss program before surgery.
  • If you have diabetes, work with your primary care provider to make sure your blood sugar levels are under control.
  • Build strength, endurance, and flexibility by doing the exercises recommended by your joint replacement care team.

Attend a PreOp Class

Get a comprehensive overview of how to prepare for your surgery, hospital stay, and recovery by attending a preoperative joint replacement class at least two weeks before your procedure. Depending on your location, you may have the option to attend class in person or via videoconference, or to watch a prerecorded video. Search our calendar to find a class near you.

Plan for a Smooth Recovery

Before your hip or knee replacement surgery, make sure you have everything you need for a smooth, safe recovery.

  • Make plans for someone to help with daily tasks like cleaning, shopping, and transportation.
  • Arrange to borrow or buy any recommended medical equipment, such as a walker or cane.
  • Tidy up, remove throw rugs and other tripping hazards, and make sure you have good lighting (including nightlights) in and around your home so you have clear, well-lit, walking paths. Make sure any stairs have sturdy safety railings.
  • At home, move frequently used items to a storage area that’s waist-level or higher so you don’t have to bend over to reach them.
  • Follow recommendations from your nurses and rehabilitation therapists on ways to modify your home for safety and comfort.

Get Ready for Surgery

Follow your joint replacement team’s instructions regarding preoperative tests and appointments, medications, food and drink, how to prepare your skin for surgery, and what to pack in your hospital bag. If you have any questions, call your orthopedic surgeon’s office.

Expect a call from a nurse the day before or Friday before your surgery. During this call, the nurse will answer your questions and tell you what time to arrive at the hospital.

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