Tips for a Successful Orthopedic Surgery

July 05, 2018
Tips for a Successful Orthopedic Surgery

The Valley Health System is committed to keeping you on your feet with advanced care for your bones, joints and more. Here, we’ve gathered tips from surgeons, nurses and physical therapists for you to use before and after surgery. Please note that all suggestions may not apply to all patients. Talk with your surgeon about what’s best for you.

Before Surgery

“For spinal procedures or surgeries, I always recommend a second opinion evaluation.” — Thomas Dunn, MD - Back, Neck, Spine Surgeon - Las Vegas

“Ask your physician if he/she thinks you may benefit from attending physical therapy prior to surgery.” — Christine Derhake, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, ATC - Outpatient Physical Therapist - Summerlin Hospital

“Attend the Joint Camp class for elective orthopedic surgery (see below) to learn what to expect and how to prepare for success after surgery. For total knee replacements, follow your surgeon’s preoperative protocol to improve flexibility or strengthening. For total hip replacements, preview hip precautions from your surgeon (i.e., no bending past a 90-degree angle, no crossing legs). For spine surgeries, practice log-rolling to be familiar with the process and review the surgeon’s precautions (i.e., no bending, lifting or twisting).” — Jessie Lee, PT, DPT, PES - Acute/Inpatient Physical Therapist - Summerlin Hospital

“Before and after surgery, eat a heart-healthy, high-protein diet and stay hydrated to help the healing process. Having a realistic expectation of your pain goal will actually help decrease your pain.” — Joleen Solem, RN - Program Coordinator - Summerlin Hospital

“Exercising up to the day before your surgery can help improve your strength, range of motion and endurance. Strengthening exercises for the hip or knee joint help improve the recovery process. Upper body conditioning exercises help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue caused by the use of a walker, crutches, cane or other aids. A walker or water exercise program increases endurance, flexibility and overall strength. Talk with your surgeon about a referral to physical therapy if you would like help developing an exercise program.” —  Nicole Grimaldo, MBA, BSN, RN, Nurse Navigator, Spring Valley Hospital

“Before surgery, talk with your surgeon about the recovery time before you can return to specific tasks or activities (e.g., driving) so you can make any necessary arrangements. Your physician may not be aware of your goals and what you want/need to do. Guidelines vary from doctor to doctor.” James Horrocks, PT , Manager of Outpatient Therapy Services, Spring Valley Hospital

“Think about how you will take care of yourself (dressing, bathing, cooking, walking, stairs) after you’ve had surgery, and obtain appropriate equipment before surgery so you can work with it beforehand and make sure you are safe.” —  Shelley Louthan, OTR/L, Director of Rehab and Therapy Services, Henderson Hospital

“Choose a care partner who can be available during your hospital stay and help when you return home. The ideal care partner can stay with you 24 hours a day and is physically capable and willing to help you with personal activities like toileting, bathing and dressing.” —  Lisa Nichols, PT, Director of Therapy Services, Desert Springs Hospital

After Surgery

“Your nurse or nursing assistant will have you at the edge of the bed or in a chair within four hours of returning from surgery. Early mobilization (movement) is key to recovery.” — Joleen Solem, RN

“Work with your physical therapist for early mobility beginning post-surgery day one to promote recovery to either return home or transfer to a rehabilitation facility.”  Jessie Lee, PT, DPT, PES

“Every surgery has different recovery times. Speak with your physical therapist and physician regarding expectations for the time of recovery needed after your surgery. Always be compliant with completing your physical therapy after surgery for best outcomes. ‘Normal’ activity will not rehabilitate your surgical site, and you will be prone to further injury.” — Christine Derhake, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, ATC

“Be prepared and dedicated to your physical therapy.” — Michael Bradford, MD - Hip/Knee/Joint Replacement Surgeon, Henderson and Northwest Las Vegas

“Move, move, move! Orthopedics and spine procedures are performed to restore function and get rid of pain. Moving helps prevent complications and improve outcomes. Through the guidance of your surgeon’s recommendation, understand what your restrictions are, but try to do what you can. The majority of time, moving is encouraged, including walking, moving the non-operative limbs, etc. Move what you can, when you can!”  Kevin Debiparshad, MD, Orthopedic/Spine Surgeon, Las Vegas, Henderson and Laughlin

“Be careful where you sit! Choose static, non-rocking seating with armrests, a high and supportive back and firm seat cushion where the seat height is taller than your knee level. Rockers and low, squishy sofas are difficult to climb out of.” — Lisa Nichols, PT, Director of Therapy Services, Desert Springs Hospital

“Early rehab/therapy after orthopedic surgeries can improve your function and prevent residual pain.” — Devin Meade, PT, DPT, MTC, CSCS, Outpatient Physical Therapist, Centennial Hills Hospital

Join us for Joint Camp!

Attending a Joint Camp session through The Valley Health System can help you get ready for orthopedic surgery and support the best possible outcomes. Learn more >

Outpatient physical therapy centers

Depending on your individual needs, physical therapy may be recommended before and/or after surgery. A physician referral is required. 

Centennial Hills Hospital campus
6850 N. Durango Drive, Suite 201, 89149

Desert View Hospital — Pahrump
1500 E. Highway 372, Suite F, 89048

Spring Valley Hospital campus
5380 S. Rainbow Blvd, Suite 100, 89118

Summerlin Hospital
653 N. Town Center Drive, Suite 117, 89144