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Total Joint Center

Western Maryland Health System Total Joint Team

logoWMHS uses a comprehensive approach to total joint replacement that enables patients to get back to normal, and sometimes extraordinary, activities of daily living.  The total joint team includes board-certified orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists.  Most importantly, each patient has a family member or friend that acts as a "coach and lends encouragement and support during the patients stay and after discharge. 

The Center provides pre-operative teaching which instructs the patient and coach how to prepare for surgery by eating correctly and exercising weeks before surgery to build up their muscles for the surgery.  During the pre-op class, patients and coaches also get to know some of the others who will be having surgery during the same time.  Pre-op class also provides information about bone-on-bone pain and what to expect after surgery.  A question and answer time is held at the end of the class.  After attending the class, patients feel much more comfortable about their upcoming surgery.

The Total Joint Program at WMHS has produced decreased length of stays and improvement in recovery time.  With mentoring from the staff, patients rapidly get back to normal functioning as soon as possible. 

Pre-Op Classes
Patients and their support person are strongly encouraged to attend our Pre-Op class to learn more about their upcoming surgery and recovery.  These free sessions are held in the Auditorium on the second floor of the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.  

Frequently Asked Questions by Total Joint Patients

What should I do to prepare for my surgery?
A pre-op class is available, where you will learn:
The significance of exercising to build up the muscles
Eating properly to also help build up the muscles and keep you healthy
How to prepare your house for a safe environment when you return

How long will I be in the hospital?  
There is usually a 2-day stay at the hospital depending on how well you are progressing.  Sometimes it could be 1 day. If there is a complication, the stay may be 3 days or longer.

What things do I leave at home?
 Valuables, jewelry, money
 All assistive devices, cane, walker, etc.

What should I bring with me?
 Loose, comfortable closes, like shorts, sweat pants and t-shirts and closed toe shoes that are non-skid and stable.
 C-PAP if you have sleep apnea
 Books, laptop, cell phone
 List of medications, insurance cards, Living Will, list of past surgeries and diseases/illnesses

When will I be able to drive? 
The average wait is about 4-6 weeks; however, it depends on your recovery progress and any other health issues that you may have.  Your doctor will assess you and make the decision.

When can I take a shower? 
With the sealed dressings that we use, you may take a shower with the dressing on and pat dry over that area, no rubbing.  If the dressing is removed and the sutures or staples have been removed and there is no drainage from the incision, you may shower and again, pat the area dry.  If there is drainage, do not take a shower or bath.

How long does the surgical site take to heal?  
The average healing time for the entire incision and tissue under the incision is approximately 6-8 weeks.  It may be sooner or it may be later; everyone is different.

How long do I have to wait to get my second knee done? 
If you follow through with the exercising and dietary instructions, you may be able to have it done in a few months.  The doctor will assess you and determine it.

When will I be able to go back to work? 
If you are recovering rapidly, the average time would be approximately 6-8 weeks.  This time frame depends on:
 how you are recovering
 if you have any other health issues
 what your insurance regulations are
 what the surgeons assessment reveals
 what your job requirements are

Will I have to get a blood transfusion? 
With a total joint replacement, you may require a blood transfusion depending on your blood count which is monitored closely.  There is a possibility that you may donate your own blood ahead of time so that it is available if you need it.  If not, you can receive blood from the Red Cross if there is a need.

Will I need any special medication after this surgery? 
After a total joint, blood thinners are used to help prevent the formation of a blood clot.  You will receive information about your blood thinner from your nurse and what you need to do to follow up after discharge.

 How long will this new joint last? 
An estimated length of dependency of the new joint is 90% depending on the age of the patient.  Most of those over 60 years of age have good use of the prosthesis for the rest of their lives.  For the very young and active joint replacement patients, there may be some wear or loosening and a revision may be required.  Younger patients (athletic type) are having total joints because the outcomes have been very helpful. 

For more information on the Total Joint Replacement Program at WMHS, please call Joint Total Joint Transitionist, Jill Shanholtz, RN, at 240-964-6618. 

Click HERE for a pdf of the Total Joint Replacement Program Patient Education Book 

For additional information about total joint replacements, please refer to www.aaos.org