The average hospital stay is approximately 7 days; it could be longer if you are very old, tired or have complications.
Each case is special and depends on you (your age, health condition, associated diseases, etc.), the type of procedure and its consequences (pain, autonomy, possible complications, etc.), your family and friends, your lifestyle and your home, and whether or not you must go to a specialised centre for rehabilitation.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
You will be admitted to the clinic the night before the procedure; bring all your pre-operative results and radiological assessments (X-rays, MRI, scintigraphy, etc.…), your health card, your health insurance certificate and the signed informed consent form.
Please do not forget your toiletries and clothing that is easy to put on.
You will be welcomed by a team of nurses who will show you to your room. The surgeon and the anaesthetist will visit you. The anaesthetist will visit you to finalise the last details, just before the procedure. Under certain circumstances, the anaesthetist that you will see will not be the one you met in the pre-anaesthesia consultation. Do not worry; the anaesthetist whom you saw in consultation ensured that your entire record was transmitted and explained to his/her colleague who will handle your case. The colleague will interview you, verify whether anything new has occurred since the consultation and will read the results of tests prescribed at the consultation.
Finally, you and the anaesthetist will decide on the final care and monitoring strategy during and after the procedure and he/she will inform you about the procedure.
During your hospitalisation, the staff will provide you with an antiseptic product that you must use to wash your body and hair the night before and on the morning of your operation.
THE DAY OF THE PROCEDURE
The morning of the procedure
- All jewellery, contact lenses, glasses, dentures and body piercing jewellery must be removed before you leave for the operating theatre.
- Do not wear any make-up or nail polish as this would hamper the monitoring of your skin colour during anaesthesia.
- If your wear dentures, please let us know and we will provide you with a box in which you can leave them.
- You must have fasted during the six hours immediately preceding the time that you are scheduled for anaesthesia: this is the "nothing after midnight" rule. You may take your usual medicines at the prescribed time, on condition that you only have a sip of water. You must not drink alcohol or smoke during the twelve hours immediately prior to anaesthesia.
In the operating theatre
- You will be brought by the stretcher-bearer to the entrance of the operating theatre.
- The operating theatre team will lead you to a pre-anaesthesia room where you will be prepared for the procedure (record verification, monitoring, perfusion, etc.…).
- You will then be placed on the operating table in the operating room by the theatre nurses and the anaesthetist.
- Once all your vital functions have been verified, you will be anaesthetised according to the procedure chosen. An installation for the orthopaedic surgery will be set up and controlled by the surgeon. Your procedure can then begin.
In the Intensive Care Unit
- After your procedure, you will be taken to the ICU where you will be monitored until you wake up. A team of nurses will verify your vital signs (pulse, BP, blood oxygen level). Pain will be evaluated during this time (use of a pain evaluation scale) and a treatment will be implemented.
- According to the procedure, a control X-ray of the operated limb could be done either in the ICU or in the radiology department before you return to your room.
- After spending approximately two hours in the ICU, you will be taken back to your room by the stretcher-bearer.
In the orthopaedic surgery unit
- You will be placed in your bed by the unit team who will implement the surgeon and the anaesthetist's instructions. You will be comfortably settled in your bed, either with an anti-dislocation cushion between your legs for a hip replacement or in a splint for a knee replacement.
- Monitoring of vital signs will start with measuring your blood pressure and temperature. The dressing, drain and urine output will be monitored throughout the day.
- Pain will continue to be addressed in the surgical unit by the systematic administration of analgesic agents.
- Rehabilitation can start as early as the afternoon and at the latest, the following day. The unit team will both explain and show you what to do and what not to do to avoid dislocation of the implant.
- Avoid having too many visits on the first day; reserve that day for your close relatives. This will prevent exhaustion.
- In some cases you might receive an injection of an anticoagulant (Low Molecular Weight Heparin: LMWH) under the skin to thin your blood and combat the risk of phlebitis.
THE DAYS FOLLOWING THE SURGERY
- The following day, the nurse will monitor your vital signs (pulse, BP, temperature) twice per day, on average. He/she will continue to evaluate pain and provide you with the suitable analgesic treatment. The dressing will be checked daily.
- The first 24 hours are often uncomfortable; you will be lying in bed, tired, and have drains that prevent you from getting up by yourself. You will get washed in bed with the help of the nursing auxiliaries. Support stockings (protection against phlebitis) will be put on you. You must wear them throughout the day.
- Your physiotherapist will help you to get out of bed the first time. He/she will take care of you for the duration of your hospitalisation. He/she will suggest exercises to enable you to regain your autonomy (walking, climbing stairs, etc.).
- The surgeon and anaesthetist will check on you every day. Do not hesitate to ask them questions.
- During your hospital stay you will regain your autonomy. The healthcare teams and the physiotherapists will assist you.