What To Expect After Orthopedic Surgery

What a patient should expect after orthopedic surgery depends on the type of orthopedic surgery he or she has. The experience can range from some minor discomfort to a very long and uncertain recuperation. Some kinds of orthopedic surgery, like laparoscopic surgeries, are outpatient procedures where the patient can go home soon after the operation. Here’s what to expect after some orthopedic surgeries:

Hip Fracture

This might mean an avulsion fracture, where stress on the muscle actually tears away some of the bone from the pelvis or an actual fracture in the femur. The bone will be set in a cast and the patient will need rest to rest for up to three months. An avulsion fracture might heal in that period of time, but if the femur is fractured it might take up to a year for the bone to heal. If surgery has been used to fix the bone, the patient may need to use crutches for up to six weeks. The physician may also recommend the patient to a therapist after a hip fracture has healed.

Hamstring Injury

These are injuries to the three muscles at the back of the thigh. They will affect a person’s ability to walk and run. If the muscle ruptures, it may require surgery to suture the tear. The patient might also need to wear a leg brace and rest for about four to six weeks. After the muscle is healed, the doctor might recommend him or her to a physical therapist. The patient might have to use crutches for a while until he or she can walk without a limp.

Collarbone Fracture

A fractured collarbone will need to be realigned and helped to heal with low intensity pulsed ultrasound therapy. The arm will need to be held in a sling for three to six weeks. The surgeon will also take X-rays regularly to make sure that the bone is healing properly. After the arm is out of the sling, the physician might again recommend physical therapy.

In many cases of orthopedic surgery, the patient stays in a recovery room for about an hour or an hour and half. They should have made arrangements for someone to drive him or her home from the clinic or the hospital and have someone stay with him or her for the first day or so after the surgery. The doctor will prescribe pain medication. These might be opioids or NSAIDS. If the patient needs to stay in bed for a long time, he or she will be monitored to guard against deep vein thrombosis. This might necessitate the patient wearing compression garments and blood thinners. The patient will also be encouraged to move around soon after the operation.

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