How to prepare for total joint replacement surgery

It's important to know what to expect the day of surgery, after surgery and hip and knee replacement recovery.

Before Joint Replacement Surgery

Preparation before surgery is the key to total joint replacement rehabilitation. Once you decide to treat your knee or hip arthritis, there are a lot of things to keep track of and remember to do—and timing is important. To help you prepare and know more about what to expect, download a comprehensive pre- and post-surgery checklist.

During Surgery

Dr. Kolisek explains what to expect during your total joint replacement surgery. It takes Dr. Kolisek about 45 minutes to replace your hip or knee joint and with minimal blood loss. He uses minimally invasive surgical techniques on all patients.


In the Hospital After Surgery

Several oral pain medicines are ordered after surgery. You will work with the nurses to find out which pain pill works best for you. This will be the medicine we will send home with you. Most patients require some pain medicine for six weeks after surgery. We will have you on a stool softener as well to decrease the risk of constipation. Pain pills are best taken after a snack to decrease side effects like nausea. Therapists will teach you the exercises that you will do on your own at home.

Going Home After Surgery

You will be discharged from the hospital when you “pass the test.” This means you can get in and out of bed on your own, walk with crutches, walker or a cane and go up and down a few stairs, get dressed and go to the bathroom. Most of Dr. Kolisek’s patients are safe to go home on the first or second day after surgery even if they live alone. Family, friends or neighbors should be included in plans at home and should check on you once a day; you will not need someone with you 24/7. If indicated, we will send a nurse and/or therapist to your home. 

The discharge planner will organize all discharge plans for you including any equipment you may need. All follow up appointments with Dr. Kolisek will be made for you. Dr. Kolisek’s goal is to get you back to normal activities after a knee replacement or hip replacement.

What to Expect After Surgery

The first two weeks after total joint replacement surgery are the most difficult. It is normal to have bruising, swelling and increased warmth in your leg. You will not have an appetite and will not be able to sleep through the night for about one month. This is normal. 

Most patients resume their normal activities in one month even though they are not completely healed. Even though you feel tired, it is good to push yourself, but not overdo it. Outlined in the handout below are medicines, activities and instructions you should expect post-surgery. Please read carefully and if you have questions call Dr. Kolisek's office at 317.884.5160 and the staff would be happy to speak with you.

Dr. Kolisek talks about what to expect after knee replacement surgery


We will give you an appointment card for a  follow-up when you leave the hospital. The appointment will be at two or four weeks after surgery. You will most likely require two visits to Dr. Kolisek’s office after surgery and then he will see you on the one year anniversary. Dr. Kolisek will X-ray your prosthesis periodically after surgery to look for early signs of loosening and wear.  

Following total joint replacement surgery, you will need to take antibiotics prior to dental cleanings and dental procedures. Antibiotics should also be taken prior to urinary tract procedures, ingrown toenail procedures and any major surgery. The antibiotics are important to decrease the chance of the prosthesis getting infected. Always let your doctor or dentist know that you have a joint replacement when you schedule any type of procedure. Antibiotics are not required when the patient has a “common cold.”

Returning to a Pain-Free Lifestyle

Dr. Kolisek and his staff will be here to encourage and support you during your surgery and rehabilitation. It is important that you continue to show up for your appointments, do your exercises at home and follow the discharge instructions so you can have the best result possible. You should be back to doing most of your activities at four to six weeks even though you may still be tired. Most patients are back to work by six weeks after surgery. Dr. Kolisek allows all activities after surgery, except running and jumping, as those can prematurely loosen the prosthesis.

Dr. Kolisek keeps all of the data regarding you and your prosthesis, both objective and patient-reported, so he can review your progress. This documentation allows Dr. Kolisek to offer the best orthopedic care possible to his patients and to make changes in your joint replacement treatment plan when necessary.