What to Expect

Depend on your helpful Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) orthopedic care team to help you know what to expect before, during, and after your joint replacement procedure.

Before Joint Replacement

After you decide you’d like to have a joint replacement, you'll meet with an orthopedic surgery scheduler. You will:

  • Sign up to attend a pre-operative education class and enroll at the Joint Replacement Center.
  • Schedule pre-operative screening from pre-anesthesia screening nurses.
  • Fill out a safe surgery questionnaire and take it to a pre-operative physical exam.

Your scheduler will remind you to get any forms needed by employers or insurance companies to your orthopedic surgeon’s nurse as soon as possible. It can take several weeks to complete these forms.

After Joint Replacement

After surgery, you’ll move to an area called the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), also called the recovery room. You'll be watched carefully in the PACU by your care team.

You can expect to see your surgeon and orthopedic doctor or his or her physician assistant every day while you're in the hospital recovering.

Bandage & Tube Care

After surgery, you’ll have a bandage and possibly a tube that drains fluid away from your joint. You may also have a small tube placed into your bladder, called a catheter, so you don’t have to get out of bed to urinate.

Compression Devices

You'll have sequential compression devices (SCD) on your feet. These pumps will squeeze the feet at regular intervals to circulate blood and help prevent clotting. Tell your nurse if you do not feel the compression (pressure).


You can expect to get antibiotics for about a day after surgery as well as medications for pain. If you experience nausea or constipation, you'll receive  medicines to help.

Talk to your providers if you don’t feel well. They’ll either explain your current medications or give you something different if your current ones aren’t working for you.

Moving After Surgery

Your rapid recovery plan will help you get up and moving as early as possible during your stay at the OMC Joint Replacement Center. This can help prevent blood clots and other problems.

You may be able to sit at the edge of the bed, stand, and even start walking with help the evening of surgery. You’ll use a walker and should be able to put weight on the joint if you can tolerate it.

Watch for Signs of Infection

After surgery, it's normal to have some redness, swelling, and warmth around your incision. But you may have an infection if you experience:

  • Fever with a temperature over 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Increased swelling
  • Painful redness
  • Thick, bad-smelling drainage from your incision

Tell your surgeon right away if you have signs of an infection or other concerns.

How Long Will I Stay in the Hospital?

You may stay in the hospital for one to two days depending on your type of surgery and rehabilitation plan. It also depends on your health before surgery, your age, and any health conditions you may have. Our primary goal is your safety and healing.

Where Do I Go When I Leave the Hospital?

You may recover from surgery at home. But there are other options that may be right for you. Your care team may recommend:

  • Home care services and in-home therapy, including physical or occupational therapy
  • Skilled nursing care in a licensed facility

If you have questions about these choices or want to learn more, call OMC social services at 507.529.6806.

Follow Up Care

Attend follow-up appointments in the clinic with your care team after you leave the hospital. The first follow-up appointment will be two to four weeks after surgery.

Follow your care team's instructions for caring for yourself at home.