1. The follow-up schedule for patients having had a total joint replacement is: six weeks, three months, six months, one year, and once a year thereafter. While some patients may feel that it is difficult to visit the doctor so often, it is important that these appointments are made and kept. If for any reason an appointment must be canceled, please call your doctor’s office. A new appointment will be made at that time, in keeping with the follow-up program.

  2. It is the responsibility of the patient to make all follow-up appointments. Please call for your first check-up within 1 week of discharge. This helps us to schedule appointments within the correct time period following surgery. If you wish, you may call you doctor’s extension directly and make your first appointment before you leave the hospital. Please note: Following your surgery, it is extremely important that you check with your physician about taking antibiotics, before any dental check-ups, or other surgical procedures.

  3. Once home, please continue the exercise program you were prescribed in the hospital. If your weight-bearing status is slowed, keep those precautions until your 6-week follow-up appointment with your physician. Wound care is a dry gauze dressing change once a day until your staples are removed, usually within 10 to 14 days after surgery, either at home or in your doctor’s office. When you return home, you may require assistance by home health services caregivers, such as a physical or occupational therapist, nurse, or house aide, or you may be asked to follow-up with outpatient services. Continue to wear the stockings (TEDS) that were given to you while in the hospital. These may be removed before going to bed at night or for short periods during the day. Otherwise, they should be worn until you see your physician at the 6-week follow-up appointment.

  4. If you notice or suspect any infections developing, or if you develop chills or a fever higher than 101, please call your physician. While some swelling, warmth, or decreased sensation is expected after surgery, any SUDDEN increase in swelling, redness, warmth, or pain should be reported to the office. In addition, any new wound drainage or change in type of drainage than seen before should be reported. This information can also be reported to the nurse case manager during regular working hours. If this should occur when the office is not open (weekends or evenings), call Good Samaritan at 410-532-8000 and have the Orthopedic Resident or the Surgical Officer of the Day paged by the operator. For increased swelling and discomfort, you may use ice and elevation. Avoid any direct contact with the incision line.

  5. After you are discharged from the hospital, you will receive a follow-up telephone call from your nurse case manager, within one to two days of your discharge from the hospital. This is an important way to ensure that your home care and recovery is going well. It also provides your physician with a report of your progress and allows you to ask any questions that you may have.

Thank you for your assistance.

Carol Drussell, R.N.
Orthopaedic Case Manager

Nancy Mears, R.N.
Orthopedic Case Manager