Pre-op and Post-op Elbow Guidelines
Planning ahead and preparing for your elbow surgery can help ensure a smooth surgery and an easier recovery.
The following recommendations can help you with this process.
When you and your orthopedic surgeon decide that joint replacement surgery is the best option to relieve pain and restore motion, you will begin the normal preparation for surgery. You should notify your surgeon about any of the medications you are presently taking because some medications must be stopped before surgery. All surgeries carry certain risks and possible complications. Before surgery, your surgeon will explain the possible complications. Your orthopedic surgeon may ask you to see your primary care physician to make sure that you do not have any health conditions that may complicate your surgery.
You may be asked to donate blood before your surgery. There are several options regarding blood donation and surgery, and all of these options should be explained to you.
Surgery also requires anesthesia. There may be some options regarding anesthesia and they will be explained to you. Your options will be based on your health history, the medications you presently take, and the results of your physical examination.
Your surgeon may also recommend that you start a strengthening program before surgery. The prescribed exercises are designed to help add strength and flexibility. Strengthening your muscles before surgery can assist your postoperative recovery.
After surgery your surgeon will give you a specific recovery plan that you should carefully follow. Do not attempt exercises that are not prescribed by your surgeon, and do not attempt to alter your recovery schedule. It takes time for your joint to heal properly.
Planning ahead for your return home
- Launder all of your dirty clothing before your surgery. Have loose, comfortable clothing set aside for your recovery time
- Prepare single-serving meals before your surgery. These meals can be heated quickly in a microwave and there is less to clean up
- Be sure to remove loose rugs and other trip hazards such as electrical cords and magazine racks from walking paths to avoid accidents or falls
- Place regularly used items such as remote controls, medications, and reading materials in easy-to-reach locations
- Un-tuck bedding to allow for easier access in and out of your bed. If your bedroom is on a second floor, it may be helpful to temporarily relocate your sleeping arrangements to the first floor. This will avoid having to climb stairs when you are not feeling your best
- Having some assistance after total joint replacement can also be very beneficial. Contact family members or friends ahead of time so they may make the necessary arrangements to assist in your recovery
It is important that you move properly during the first 4-8 weeks after your surgery. Do not use your surgical arm to push yourself up from a seated or lying position. You may not participate in any contact sports or lift anything heavier than one pound. Avoid placing your surgical arm in any extreme position, such as straight out to the side or behind your body.
Continue the prescribed exercises during your entire recovery period, and talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program after you fully recover. Swimming, walking, and bicycling are excellent sources of low-impact exercise if your surgeon feels that these activities are appropriate for your individual condition.
Follow your surgeon’s check-up plan. It is common to visit with your surgeon at three, six, and nine months after surgery and annually thereafter.
All patient education materials are provided by OrthoPatientEd.com and have been reviewed by our Advisory Board of leading Orthopedic Surgeons to ensure accuracy. All materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your orthopedic surgeon. Any medical decisions should be made after consulting a qualified physician. This site includes links to other web sites. OrthoPatientEd.com takes no responsibility for the content or information contained in the linked sites.