The Importance Of Aftercare Following Joint Replacement Surgery

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Symptoms like mild discomfort, loss of appetite, and reduced energy are normal after joint replacement surgery, but you can take steps to minimize them.
  • Following the advice of your provider and following your aftercare procedures will promote a smoother recovery and a quicker return to activity.
  • Follow-up appointments maintain an open line of communication between you and your surgeon, allowing you to decide together if you need any adjustments to your recovery plan.
  • Choosing a skilled and compassionate provider can minimize your recovery time and allow you to return to your lifestyle more quickly.  

Joint replacement surgery can bring incredible relief to candidates with joint pain or discomfort. Still, the postoperative discomfort can be discouraging for some. Fortunately, consulting with your provider and adopting a plan for proper aftercare following joint replacement surgery helps mitigate some of the side effects while promoting a smoother recovery.

Benefits of following a thoughtful aftercare plan can include reduced pain, improved mobility, and an overall better quality of life. At The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale, we provide compassionate care from start to finish, building a plan that minimizes pain and ensures your best possible outcome.

What To Expect After Joint Replacement Surgery

It’s common to experience discomfort and symptoms as your body recovers during the days and weeks following surgery. Symptoms are normal aspects of the recovery process, so don’t be discouraged if you find yourself experiencing some discomfort.

That said, the following symptoms should subside over time, and taking the proper aftercare measures after surgery will help you minimize postoperative complications.


Swelling is your body’s natural response to damage and can begin soon after surgery. However, you can take simple steps to reduce swelling in the days following your surgery. 

Elevate the affected area above the level of your heart by propping it up with a pillow—just don’t place a pillow underneath your knee. Applying a cold compress or ice pack for up to 10 minutes at a time can also help reduce swelling.

Swelling is often a source of pain and tenderness after surgery, so follow your surgeon’s instructions for pain management and take any prescribed medications to help reduce swelling.

Decreased Energy

As your body directs energy to rebuilding tissue in the surgical area and recovering, it is possible that you will feel more tired and lethargic after surgery. This is perfectly normal. Be sure to rest and balance any activity with time to relax so you do not overexert yourself and delay your recovery.

Getting proper sleep and rest will not only give you more energy but also give your body the ability to repair and rebuild damaged tissue.

Minor Pain and Discomfort

Minor pain and discomfort are normal symptoms following joint replacement surgery. Advancements in joint replacement surgery, like Mako SmartRobotics, have helped to minimize damage to the tissue surrounding the joint and decrease pain and discomfort compared to traditional methods. However, patients may experience some minor pain or discomfort in the treatment area—typically centered around the incision site.

Be sure to follow your provider’s recommendations for prescription pain medications, which will help manage pain. Let your provider know if the pain becomes worse over time.

Other natural strategies to relieve pain include:

  • Mindfulness practices
  • Listening to music
  • Changing positions
  • Aromatherapy
  • Walking
  • Engaging in distractions, like reading or watching TV

Loss of Appetite

A reduced appetite is normal immediately after surgery, but nutrition is an important part of the recovery process. It’s important to make an effort to include nutritious foods in your diet that contain protein, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

At the same time, make sure to drink at least six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Fluids and nutrient-rich foods will give your body the tools it needs to rebuild damaged tissue.

Follow Up Appointments

Follow-up appointments are a vital part of the recovery process, and they should not be overlooked. These appointments keep an open line of communication between you and your medical provider, allowing them to monitor your progress and ensure that you are experiencing an effective recovery.

Following up with your provider regularly gives you the chance to discuss any concerns you may have, like if you are experiencing any pain or difficulty with your new joint. Your provider will be able to monitor your progress, watch for signs of complications, and help you stay on track with your recovery plan.  

The amount of follow-up appointments you need depends on your surgeon’s discretion, your recovery journey, and your progress. Some providers may recommend follow-up appointments for a few years, while others may only recommend one or two.

Transform Your Life for the Better

At The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale, we are experts in robotic surgery, using the latest technology and compassionate care to provide an exceptional level of joint care.

Best Practices for Aftercare Following Surgery

Everyone is different, and it is important to talk to your specific provider about your unique needs, depending on your case. Still, there are some helpful tips to keep in mind that can help improve the aftercare process.

In addition to the above steps, some postoperative best practices include:

  • Caring for the incision site wound by keeping the bandage sealed and dry
  • Following your doctor’s instructions on prescriptions and medications 
  • Discussing potential vitamin supplements with your provider that may support your recovery
  • Avoiding sitting in one place for too long—you should try to move at least every 30 to 45 minutes to encourage blood flow to the area in recovery
  • Engaging in normal activities, like walking and going up stairs
  • Performing a consistent exercise routine to rebuild joint mobility

Benefits of Post-Surgery Care

Post-surgery care combines resting your treatment area with putting it to use in daily activities to repair the tissue and restrengthen it. The goal of post-surgery care is not just to heal any damage to the joint but also to restore functionality. 

Some of the benefits of post-surgery care include:

  • Quicker return to daily activities – Aftercare includes simple exercises and movements that will help you rebuild strength and restore function to your treatment area. Taking your exercise regimen seriously and staying active after surgery allows you to get back to your daily activities sooner.
  • Reduced pain levels – Your post-surgery recovery plan is designed to help you cope with pain by using both activity and rest. Pain relief strategies recommended by your provider, like medications and physical therapy, will help minimize pain.
  • Better sleep – Discomfort at night can make it difficult to sleep. Taking steps to address discomfort and mitigate pain while building a consistent sleep and bedtime routine will make it easier to sleep so that your body is able to recover.
  • Enhanced mood – The pain and discomfort from the recovery process can be discouraging. However, aftercare practices help you cope with and address pain and discomfort so that you enjoy a more positive mood and optimistic outlook.
  • Reduced chance of complications – Your recovery plan is designed to build your joint back stronger. Following your regimen carefully will improve the function of the joint and ensure you can use it comfortably.

Recover from Joint Replacement Surgery Faster

Taking the proper aftercare steps post-surgery will ensure a smooth recovery and allow your affected joint to return to full function with minimal setbacks. Our experienced team at The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale uses cutting-edge technology and provides you with quality, compassionate care throughout every step of the process, guiding you to a full recovery. 

Our advanced methods for joint replacement surgery allow for minimal pain and discomfort and a faster return to daily activities. Contact us today at The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale to schedule a consultation and see if you are a good candidate for joint replacement surgery.