Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery

Before Your Surgery

Care begins with you and your surgeon as you decide together if you are a candidate and are personally ready for knee or hip replacement surgery. These discussions involve looking at all treatment options before considering surgery. If you both decide that surgery is the best choice, you will meet with your surgeon to schedule a date for surgery and also schedule a pre-op appointment for about 3-4 weeks before surgery. At that time your overall health will be evaluated with a brief physical, blood work, urinalysis, X-ray, and heart and lung tests.

Call your insurance provider to confirm the details of your coverage and  pre-certification. UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital has a dedicated  team of financial counselors. If you have questions about the cost of your procedure, please contact them at (319) 369-7513. Stop smoking for better health. The hospital is a smoke-free environment.

Before surgery you will have a STAR (Surgical Screening Testing Admission Registration) phone call. This gives you a chance to ask questions and learn what to expect before, during and after surgery. The STAR phone call begins both your hospital admission process and plans for your discharge. You will also be asked to provide the name of the person (family member, friend or other volunteer) who will be your "personal coach." This person will accompany you to the hospital on your day of surgery and will be there when you are discharged, as well as attend to you at home during your recovery and rehabilitation. Call (319) 369-7827 if your STAR phone call is not already scheduled.

The Day of Your Surgery

On the day of your surgery, you and your personal coach will meet with the surgeon to answer any remaining questions you may have. The length of the surgery will vary somewhat from patient to patient, but the St. Luke's SurgiCare team will provide updates to your personal coach and any of your family and friends in the waiting area.

After Your Surgery

After your surgery, you will be up and walking by that same afternoon or evening. You will also complete your first session of physical therapy and will be taking your evening meal while sitting in a chair. St. Luke's physical therapists will work with you one-on-one to show you exercises you can do to strengthen and add mobility. Occupational therapists will also assist you in learning to perform everyday activities such as getting dressed and bathing while you are recovering. You will receive the best post-surgery therapy possible from St. Luke's, recognized by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) for over 30 years for our inpatient physical therapy. St. Luke's is the only hospital in the area to receive accreditation.

You will take an active role in your discharge planning - our goal is to get you home safely, even as soon as the day after surgery!

At Home Recovery & Rehabilitation

Your coordinated care begins at home with your personal coach, who will help you with your exercises and personal routine. 

Treatment continues with physical and occupational therapy. The length of therapy varies by each patient, but typically lasts about six to eight weeks, with two or three sessions per week. For those in the immediate Cedar Rapids area, St. Luke's has four convenient Therapy Plus locations. Physical therapy begins with range-of-motion exercises and walking with a walker or cane. Once those become easier, strengthening exercises are added, as well as transitioning to walking without assistance.

Follow-Up

You can expect to resume normal activities five to six weeks after your surgery. You'll have a final follow-up appointment with your doctor at that time. Your doctor may want to see you yearly for a quick check to see how your new joint is performing. After you've fully recovered, low-impact activities and exercise such as walking, golf and swimming are encouraged to keep your new joint healthy.