How to Prepare for Ankle Replacement Surgery
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Your primary care doctor.
It’s a good idea to get a physical exam to make sure you’re healthy enough to have surgery. This is especially important if you have long-term health conditions, such as diabetes.
Your physical therapist.
They’ll measure how well your ankle works before surgery. This will help them check your progress as your joint heals and you start to move again. They can teach you how to use the crutches or walker you’ll need to get around after the operation, too.
They are the doctor who will keep you pain-free during surgery. Usually you meet with them on the day of your operation. They’ll explain the type of anesthesia they’ll use and will ask you if you’ve had any bad reactions in the past.
Get Your Body Ready
You might need to do some things that will let you heal quickly:
- If you smoke, stop. It hurts your heart and blood vessels and will make your recovery time longer.
- Changes in medication . If you take blood thinners or anticoagulants, your doctor will discuss when to stop taking them before having surgery. These include anti-inflammatory pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen. They can cause extra bleeding if you take them too close to surgery.
- Tell your surgeon about other prescription and over-the-counter drugs that you take. You might need to temporarily stop them or take an alternative treatment.
- Watch for illness. If you get sick or have symptoms of infection in the week before surgery, let your doctor know right away.
- Keep clean. Stick to any directions you’re given for showering or bathing before surgery. Your surgeon might ask you to wash with a special soap that kills the bacteria on your skin.
Prepare Your Home for Recovery
You won’t be able to walk for a period of time after surgery. Before you go to the hospital, you can make your home a safe place to recover by following these tips:
Going to the Hospital
Don’t eat or drink after midnight the evening before your surgery.
Don’t wear any makeup or jewelry to the hospital. Pack a small bag to bring with you, though. Your surgeon might give you a list of suggested items to pack. These might include:
- Insurance information
- A copy of your advance medical directives and medical history
- Medicines you regularly take
- Personal care items, such as your toothbrush and hairbrush
- Comfortable clothing to wear home, including shorts or pants that are very loose around the ankles
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