If you have a musculoskeletal problem that you’re contemplating undergoing surgery for, you’ll want to have an idea of what recovery might entail and the specific measures your care team will likely take to ensure your safety and comfort and the overall success of your treatment.
Below, we’ve prepared a straightforward guide to postoperative care to help set your expectations.
Postoperative Pain Management
Regardless of which type of orthopedic surgery you’re having— whether a rotator cuff repair, fracture repair or joint replacement— you’ll experience some level of pain after your surgery. This is normal and to be expected.
Your care team will give you medications (e.g., acetaminophen or NSAIDs) to ensure your pain is properly managed and that you’re comfortable, as you recover from surgery.
While pain isn’t necessarily any cause for concern, let your care team know if you experience sudden and severe pain that is not alleviated with the medications you’re taking.
Importance of Adherence to Care Team’s Recommendations
Orthopedic surgery has risks, which are inherent in any type of surgical intervention. Your care team will take all necessary measures and provide you with detailed pre- and postoperative care instructions (e.g., smoking cessation, taking your medications as prescribed, keeping your wound dressing clean and dry, etc.) to minimize your risk of complications. Your safety and the success of your recovery both hinge on your adherence to your care team’s recommendations.
Watch out for signs of infection and blood clots. Fever, wound drainage, swelling, and increased pain are potential symptoms of infection, while swelling, tenderness, and redness in your lower extremities could signal a dangerous blood clot. Furthermore, weakness and shortness of breath could mean that the clot has traveled to your lungs. These situations warrant immediate medical attention. In such case, contact your orthopedic surgeon right away.
Your Rehabilitation Care Plan
Physical therapy is an integral component of any rehabilitation care plan, and thus, your orthopedic surgeon will likely have you start your PT program immediately or within days after your procedure.
The following are some of the treatment modalities your physical therapist will likely include in your program—along with patient education and exercises (passive and active)—to help you regain your normal function and mobility and recover fast:
- Electrical stimulation – helps prevent muscle atrophy, relieves pain, improves muscular strength, and reduces inflammation
- Heat and cold therapy – Heat therapy improves blood flow and relaxes your muscles, while cold therapy alleviates pain and swelling.
- Manual therapy – mobilizes your joints and reduces muscle tension
- Ultrasound therapy – increases blood flow and breaks down scar tissue
Orthopedic Surgeon in Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport, TN
If you’re looking for a reliable orthopedic surgeon within the Johnson City, Bristol, or Kingsport area in Tennessee, visit us Watauga Orthopaedics. Our board-certified orthopedic specialists pride themselves on not only their expertise but also on their compassionate approach and dedication to ensuring our patients safely, comfortably, and quickly get back on their feet after their surgery.
To see one of our orthopedic surgeons, contact our staff at (624) 282-9011, or use this secure appointment request form. For your added convenience, we offer urgent care services at all of our locations.