How to Minimize & Prevent Postoperative Complications

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Joint replacement surgery provides a sense of relief by restoring function to your joints and reducing pain, but your provider must have a holistic approach to ensure the best outcome and minimize any risk for complications during the process. Potential complications can include blood clots, infection, and even damage to the surrounding area.

Fortunately, by choosing the right joint replacement surgeon, you can ensure you get the best results out of your surgery and enjoy a complication-free recovery. Prevention of postoperative complications relies on your provider developing a strong personalized recovery plan and you taking adequate steps for self-care. At The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale, we take a variety of precautions to minimize and prevent any complications.

Preoperative Preparation

A complication-free joint replacement surgery starts with taking the proper steps before the operation begins. Before your procedure, you and your doctor will have a consultation to discuss any risk factors and considerations you should be aware of. 

Part of this preparation includes evaluating your medical history and any comorbidities. These can include conditions like heart disease, pulmonary disease, or neurological disorders.

Some additional risk factors for complications include:

  • Illness or infection
  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • The use of certain medications
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep deprivation

Altogether, preoperative assessment and preparation will verify you are a safe candidate for joint replacement surgery and minimize the risk of complications. Not all risk factors will disqualify you from surgery, but they may require the need for additional supervision. 

Another vital aspect of preparation is ensuring that the patient fully understands what to expect from an upcoming surgery and how to maximize their outcomes. Through preoperative education and counseling, your provider will cover the importance of following preoperative instructions and taking steps like limiting certain medications and avoiding smoking.

Surgical Techniques and Strategies

At the point of surgery, your provider will take as many steps as possible to ensure a smooth complication-free procedure. Your provider will carefully follow essential techniques and strategies to reduce surgery complications.

Effective Anesthesia Management

Anesthesia is important for reducing pain and minimizing risks during your surgery. However, anesthesia must be managed correctly, so choose an experienced provider.

Your anesthesiologist will ensure high-quality anesthesia and proper dosage. Appropriate anesthesia management will go a long way toward ensuring an outcome that minimizes pain and avoids complications. 

Surgical Site Infection Prevention

One of the most significant risk factors of surgery is the chance of infection at the surgical site. Your provider will minimize the risk of infection by following careful protocol and performing your surgery in a sterile environment with sterile equipment.

After the procedure, they will dress the wound to minimize the risk of infection. Your provider will also offer tips for topical treatments, wound dressing, and wound management so that you can avoid infection during the recovery process. 

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Postoperative Care

The steps you take after your surgery are also crucial for ensuring a smooth postoperative recovery and minimizing complications. Your provider will develop a postoperative recovery plan for you to follow to reduce surgery complications, which will typically include the following procedures.

Early Mobilization and Physical Therapy

Rest is crucial for the healing and recovery process, but movement is important too. Exercise and movement will promote blood flow to the area, which encourages nutrient transfer to the damaged tissue. Early activity also plays an essential role in restoring functionality to the affected area by reducing stiffness and improving flexibility.

You can encourage early mobilization of the area by building a routine with gentle range of motion exercises. After your surgery, a team of physical therapists and healthcare professionals will collaborate to develop a plan with specific exercises and how often you should perform them.

Pain Management

Unfortunately, pain is a natural part of the healing process. On the bright side, your provider will work with you to manage pain and mitigate the amount of pain you experience to begin with. Your healthcare provider will help you develop an individualized pain management plan based on your needs.

Your provider will use a process called multimodal analgesia, using multiple types of pain medications to manage pain associated with postoperative recovery and reduce the need for opioid usage. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the body’s deep veins. DVT is a potential complication from any surgery, and particularly joint replacement surgery.

Fortunately, because this is a known complication of joint replacement surgery, your doctor will take measures to ensure healthy circulation, prevent blood clot formation, and promote the healing process.

Some measures your doctor will recommend for preventing blood clot formation include:

  • Wearing compression devices
  • Taking anticoagulant medications, also known as blood-thinners
  • Early mobilization of the area

Nutrition and Hydration

Ensuring adequate nutrition is an important part of the recovery process, as your body requires a variety of nutrients to repair tissue damage and heal. Your provider will discuss appropriate nutrition with you as part of your postoperative recovery plan to equip you with a plan that works.  

Some foods to add to your diet may include:

  • Sources of protein, like lean meats, tofu, and eggs
  • Healthy fats, like nuts and fish
  • Sources of fiber, like legumes and whole grains
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

Hydration is crucial as well, as it is essential to effective wound healing and healthy circulation. Hydration can even play a part in preventing other complications like DVT and delayed healing.

Depending on your needs, your provider may ensure a positive electrolyte balance by using an IV and will encourage you to drink plenty of water.

Patient Monitoring and Follow-Up

After your procedure, it’s necessary to monitor your recovery process consistently. Your provider will offer regular postoperative check-ups to see how you are doing and watch for any signs of complications or adverse reactions to your procedure.

These check-ups will allow you to receive quick care if you do have any postoperative complications so they can be addressed quickly. During your check-ups, your provider will monitor the healing process and address any concerns.

Self-care is important for recovery too. Be sure to take care of your health by getting proper rest, eating well, and performing gentle exercises. You should also monitor your recovery outside the doctor’s office and look for any warning signs of complications.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Worsening pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling or pain that is not getting better
  • Numbness or tingling below the joint

If you notice any of these, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Schedule a Consultation Today

The best step in the prevention of postoperative complications is to choose a skilled and experienced surgical provider. At The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale, our team has overseen over 16,000 successful surgeries, providing you with the utmost confidence in your procedure.

From our state-of-the-art surgical methods to our compassionate team of professionals, we take every step we can to minimize postoperative complications and ensure the best possible patient outcomes.

Schedule a consultation with The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale to see if you are a good candidate for joint replacement surgery and begin the path to comfortable joints.