After Surgery

Your recovery begins as soon as you awake from surgery. A physical and occupational therapist will help you regain the strength, coordination and balance needed to return to normal life activities after your joint surgery.

Once you are awake, we will we take you to your hospital room where we will we show you how to:

  • Call for help
  • Stay safe and prevent falls
  • Manage your pain
  • Do deep breathing exercises
  • Perform exercises that will strengthen your muscles, increase your range of motion and help prevent blood clots

You can expect to:

  • Sit in a recliner or chair most of the day
  • Work with a physical therapist twice a day on exercising area affected by joint replacement or resurfacing
  • Walk up and down stairs
  • Get in and out of a car
  • Learn and discuss surgical precautions
  • Learn how to dress and bathe yourself

Going Home

Most patients go home two to three days after their surgery. Your healthcare team will work with you and your family to make sure you have a safe place to recover and are ready to leave.

Before leaving, we will make sure you:

  • Know how to care for yourself, including diet and activity instructions
  • Understand how to take your medicines and what side effects you might experience
  • Know how to care for your incision
  • Have the proper equipment to help you with your recovery
  • Be able to identify warning signs of infection and possible blood clots, and know what to do about it

Before you leave, you should:

  • Ask questions and make sure you understand the instructions given to you by your nurse
  • Arrange for a ride home
  • Make sure the seat in your vehicle reclines and is not too high or too low

Recovery After Discharge

After leaving the hospital, all patients need some type of rehabilitation. We will help you select one of the following types of services depending on your needs:

  • Inpatient program—Offers patient care and therapy in either a hospital or nursing home setting
  • Outpatient program—Provides therapy outside of the home. You will need transportation to and from the facility
  • Home health program—Offers patient care and therapy from healthcare providers in your home

Following Up with Your Doctor

Be sure you keep all your medical appointments and see your doctor regularly. Your doctor will schedule follow-up visits to make sure your surgical site is healing well. Most patients have their staples removed about two weeks after surgery. 

Returning to Normal Activities

Talk with your doctor about when it is safe to return to normal activities, such as driving, work and sex.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Fever greater than 101 degrees
  • Increased drainage from your incision
  • Foul odor from your incision
  • Incision becomes increasingly red, swollen and warm to the touch
  • Severe pain or swelling in your leg or calf

Call 911 or Go to the Emergency Room If You Have:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing


Northside Hospital Gwinnett
1000 Medical Center Boulevard
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Phone: 678-312-1000


Northside Hospital Duluth
3620 Howell Ferry Rd
Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: 678-312-6800

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