Preparation and Recovery
Count on the Wayne UNC Health Care team for all the support you need throughout your joint replacement journey—from comprehensive preparation to successful recovery.
Total Joint Class
Sign up for our free total joint class whether you’re just considering joint replacement or have already scheduled surgery. You’ll hear about what to expect from:
- Former patient
- Nurse navigator
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
Take this opportunity to ask all your questions and meet some of the caregivers you may work with after surgery.
Prehab: Gain Strength Before Surgery
Get a head start on your recovery by participating in prehabilitation, or prehab, with the rehabilitation services team at Wayne UNC. You’ll learn simple exercises to build strength and flexibility so you can recover more quickly after surgery.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
You’ll likely spend just one night in the hospital after surgery, recovering in a quiet, reserved area that protects the safety and well-being of patients like you. Expect to work with nurses and therapists who have specialized training and years of experience in care after joint replacement. Rely on your entire team to help you make recovery smoother and more comfortable—in the hospital and at home.
Following hip or knee surgery, your joint will receive an injection of medication that eases pain for up to 24 hours and isn’t addictive. If you have shoulder replacement, you’ll receive a pain block before surgery to relieve discomfort for up to a day. You’ll also learn about easy ways to relieve pain at home.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
A physical therapist will visit you just a few hours after surgery to get your new joint moving as soon as possible. We’ll also help you arrange to begin in-home physical therapy and occupational therapy within 48 hours after leaving the hospital. Expect to participate in rehabilitation at home for the first two weeks, then transition to outpatient therapy for several more weeks.
Learn how to safely do activities such as getting in a car, climbing stairs, bathing, and dressing as your new joint heals. You may be able to move comfortably with little to no support after a few months.
Your surgeon will make several follow-up appointments with you in the year after surgery to check on your progress. Look forward to a call from your nurse navigator as well to discuss your health within the first week after surgery. Feel free to contact the nurse any time with questions for at least six months. Your care team will help ensure you achieve the best possible long-term outcome.