Certified by The Joint Commission
If you are considering joint replacement surgery, it makes sense to choose Carilion Clinic over other hospitals. Our Joint Replacement program sets the bar as the regional leader in surgical excellence. We emphasize minimally invasive techniques and innovative approaches, including the anterior approach to hip replacement that reduces recovery time by 50 percent in almost every case.
Carilion's quality ratings are excellent; in particular we have an exceptionally low rate of complications and high patient satisfaction scores. Our inpatient orthopaedic unit has been certified since 2007 by the Joint Commission, and has received its Gold Seal of Approval™ for quality care. Our surgeons are the most experienced by far, performing the vast majority of all joint replacements in western Virginia. We perform over 1,500 hip and knee replacement surgeries each year, with an excellent outcome record.
Before Your Joint Replacement Surgery
There are many factors that can negatively impact the outcome of your joint replacement surgery. However, there are several steps that you can take prior to surgery to not only improve your overall health but lessen the risk of surgical complications.
Obesity can put you at risk for a number of conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers, but did you know that it can also put you at risk for potentially deadly complications following surgery?
The preferred body mass index ratio, or BMI, for elective orthopaedic surgery is 40 or less. The average recommended BMI ratio for adults is between 20-25, and a ratio of 30+ is considered obese.
What should I do?
If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about how you can lose weight and decrease your risk of complications during and following surgery. Just a weight loss of five to ten percent of your body weight has a multitude of health benefits.
- Carilion Clinic registered dietitians – a referral from your physician is needed
- Weight Watchers - 800-651-6000
- Weigh Station - a referral from your physician is needed
For weight loss inspiration, check out these stories:
Nicotine, which is naturally found in tobacco, has been shown to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine and it can wreak havoc on your health. Used in cigarettes, spit or chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes, nicotine can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, ulcers, blood clots, and mouth and gum disease.
The use of nicotine can also result in poor surgical outcomes and it can hinder your recovery process. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels and in order to heal from surgery you need dilated blood vessels. Quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do for your health and it can optimize your recovery and healing after your joint replacement surgery. You will need to be nicotine free for three months before your surgery will be scheduled.
What should I do?
Talk to your primary care physician about how you can quit smoking. Carilion Clinic also offers several quit smoking programs. For more information, visit CarilionClinic.org/quitsmoking or call 800-422-8482.
- Smokefree.gov 
- BecomeAnEx.org 
- American Heart Association  - 800-AHA-USA1
- American Lung Association  - 800-LUNG-USA
Practice Good Oral Care
Your oral health cannot be ignored, especially before surgery. An unhealthy mouth has been linked to many medical complications. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria. And while most of these bacteria are harmless, good oral care is essential to keep bacteria under control.
During surgery, a tube will be inserted to help you breathe; however, the tube is also a route by which bacteria can contaminate the lungs, causing pneumonia, or resulting in an infection in your joint replacement. Thorough brushing, flossing, and the use of mouth wash will greatly cut down on the amount of bacteria in your mouth and help reduce complications.
If you have visited a dentist within the year and have had a good checkup, you are good to go! But if it has been more than a year, you will need to visit your dentist prior to your surgery.
Please note that if there is an infection present or dental work to be completed, your surgery will be postponed. A letter will need to be sent by your dentist to clear you for surgery once the work has been completed. Once you have been cleared we will schedule your surgery.
What should I do?
Talk to your dentist. A referral can be made to Carilion’s Dental Clinic.
Follow a Healthy Diet
It is always a good idea to eat a healthy diet, but prior to surgery it is especially important. Eating the right portions and kinds of healthy foods will result in a healthier body system.
We want to make sure you are as well nourished as you can be before you go into surgery in order to reduce complications during your operation and aid in a faster recovery after surgery. A healthy diet reduces the risk of infection, helps with healing, powers your muscles, gives you more energy, and it will help you remember what to do before and after your surgery.
One of the concerns for surgery is blood loss, so make sure to eat iron rich foods, such as chicken, liver, turkey, tuna, rice, spaghetti, spinach, sweet potatoes, string beans, eggs, peanuts, almonds, raisins, watermelon, and strawberries.
Foods that are full of fiber are also essential for recovery when you will be on pain medication and not as active. Consume foods such as nuts, berries, green leafy vegetables, beans, oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, and potatoes.
What should I do?
For more information on the kinds of foods you should be eating for a healthy body, talk to your primary care provider. Or check out some of the resources provided below.