Hip replacement surgery and knee replacement surgery can help relieve your pain and enable you to live a more active life. If you and your orthopedic surgeon have decided that you are a good candidate for joint replacement surgery, there are some necessary steps to complete in order to prepare for your surgery.


One month before surgery…

  • We recommend that you visit your dentist at least one month before your surgery to ensure that you don’t have any infections or other problems that could complicate your surgery. Have all dental work completed – including a routine cleaning – at least a month prior to allow sufficient time for healing and to minimize your risk of infection.
  • Within 3-4 weeks of your surgery date, you will need to complete all necessary lab work and an EKG, to check your heart health. This may be done with your primary care provider or separately.
  • Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider for a pre-surgical physical 3-4 weeks prior to surgery. Your medical provider will evaluate your overall health and determine if you should proceed with surgery. Often, you can have your lab work and EKG done at this time.
  • Attend a total joint education class with St. Charles Medical Center – offered every Thursday for free! The class explains what to expect in the hospital, and what you’ll need for your recovery at home.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine from cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco can interfere with your ability to heal after surgery. Work with your primary care provider to come up with a plan to quit smoking prior to your surgery.


One week before surgery…

  • Stay hydrated. It is important to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. This can be water, sports drinks, or juices. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.
  • Eat healthy meals and snacks. If you are diabetic, focus on keeping your blood sugar stable and within normal limits.
  • Constipation can be an issue before surgery, and may become an issue after surgery as well. Focus on drinking fluids regularly, eat a high fiber diet, and use stool softeners as needed.
  • Avoid cuts, rashes, or scratches from pets. If you are put at risk for infection, you may have to postpone or cancel your surgery.
  • Approximately one week before your surgery, you will meet with your surgeon to review important information and make sure you are fully prepared. Remember to bring any questions you have to this appointment, and bring whoever will be helping with your recovery along with you.
  • Make sure your home is ready for recovery to help minimize issues later.
  • Stop taking all anti-inflammatory medications for seven days before surgery. These may include prescribed NSAIDS or over-the-counter medications.
  • Stop taking all vitamins and herbal supplements for seven days prior to surgery. These supplements can interfere with the anesthesia, and some can thin your blood.
  • If you are on blood thinners, your primary care provider will direct you when to stop these medications prior to your surgery. Be sure to follow their instructions closely.


The night before surgery…

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, unless instructed otherwise by your pre-surgery nurse.
  • Limit your alcohol and tobacco product consumption for 24 hours before surgery.
  • Take any medications as instructed to do so by the pre-surgery nurse.
  • Make sure your hospital bag is packed and ready. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes to and from your surgery. Bring glasses, contacts, hearing aids, and denture containers. Leave your valuables at home.
  • Set your alarm and be sure to get a good night’s rest.


Your surgeon and staff will go over your after-surgery care and answer any questions you have. Follow their post-operative instructions closely. If you have any questions or concerns, call The Center at 541-382-3344.