Bradley K. Vaughn, MD, FACS - Adult Joint Replacement Surgeon - Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic,PA  
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Bradley K. Vaughn, MD, FACS - Adult Joint Replacement Surgeon
Dr. Bradley K. Vaughn is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon experienced in adult total joint replacement and revision surgery.
Patient Info - Bradley K. Vaughn, MD, FACS - Adult Joint Replacement Surgeon

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Patient Guide to TJR :: FAQs
Pre-operative Exercise :: Pre-op Hip Patient Documents
Pre-op Knee Patient Documents :: Pre Surgery Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I take Glucosamine Chondroitin prior to Total Joint Replacement surgery?
    If you have been taking this dietary supplement and find that it helps, you may continue. If you have not been taking it, there is no scientific reason to begin it. The theory of the Glucosamine Chondroitin is to build cartilage cells in your joints. Those surfaces are removed at the time of surgery. If you are taking it before your surgery, please STOP SEVEN DAYS before your surgery date.

  • Are there any specific exercises I should do before surgery?
    Any exercise you can do before surgery is beneficial. However, many patients are not able to exercise because of the pain, which is the reason for their surgery. If you are interested in Physical Therapy before surgery, please let us know so that we can provide a prescription.

  • How long should I plan to be out of work after Total Joint Replacement surgery?
    The standard is 6 weeks, but this can vary. There are many factors in determining when you return to work. These include what type of work you do, whether you had a hip or knee replaced, and if your work will allow part-time and/or light duty.

  • When I have my knee or hip replaced, will I still have arthritis in that joint?
    No, the arthritis is removed at the time of surgery.

  • Do I need to donate blood prior to my Total Joint Replacement?
    As a rule, Dr. Vaughn does not require patients to donate blood before surgery. However, there may be exceptions.

  • What kind of anesthesia is used for the surgery?
    Dr. Vaughn’s preference is Spinal Anesthesia. However, it is ultimately determined by you and the Anesthesiologist. The other option would be General Anesthesia. With a Spinal Anesthetic, you will also be given medication to make you very drowsy so you will not be alert during the surgery. Any other questions about Anesthesia are deferred to the Anesthesia Department at the hospital.

  • Why do I have a pre-operative appointment at the hospital?
    You will meet with an anesthesiologist to discuss anesthesia options. They will review your labs and medical clearance. They may determine that further medical evaluation is needed. This is not optional. It must be done promptly or your surgery will be rescheduled.

  • Why do I need to see my Primary Care Physician and/or other Doctors before my Total Joint Replacement surgery?
    We want you seen by your PCP to be sure you are medically stable for surgery. If you have a history of heart problems or heart surgery, you may be asked to see your Cardiologist as well. It is very important that we receive paperwork from th physicians before Dr. Vaughn can proceed with your surgery. You may be required to see other specialists that are treating you.

  • How will my pain be controlled after the surgery?
    Oral, Intramuscular, and Intravenous routes are used for pain management after the surgery. Please let us know of any allergies or sensitivities you may have to any medications.

  • Will I need a walker in the hospital?
    If you already have these items at home, feel free to bring the walker to the hospital. Be sure to label it with your name and date of birth. If you do not already have a walker, do not worry about getting then before surgery. The hospital has equipment that you can use there. Physical Therapists will notify the Case Managers about your needs at home. All patients start off with a walker. Physical Therapy will decide the appropriate equipment for you before your discharge.

  • How do I get the proper equipment for home?
    Your Case Manager will help arrange delivery of the appropriate equipment to your home. They will assist you with your needs, and check with your insurance company as to what items will be covered according to your insurance plan.

  • Can my family members stay with me at the hospital?
    Yes. ONE family member can stay with you overnight at the hospital.

  • When should I have family come to stay with me and how long should they stay?
    You may want a family member to stay with you at the hospital; however, it is not required. The most important time to have family stay with you is your first week home from the hospital. You must have family or friends with you 24 hours a day for the first week that you are home.

  • I expect to have no pain after surgery. Is this realistic?
    NO. There is pain after surgery. Total Joint Replacement requires bone work which is painful. There is also pain associated with your incision. You can expect pain from using muscles in ways that you were not able to use them before the surgery because you altered the way you moved your joint as a result of the arthritis. Pain medication will be provided as necessary and as appropriate.

  • How much knee motion should I have at my first follow-up visit?
    Ideally 0 - 90° is your goal. Some people are not at that point at their first visit, when their staples are removed. At the second appointment, 6-8 weeks post op, you are expected to be at that goal.

  • What are the signs and symptoms of a Blood Clot or Deep Vein Thrombosis?
    Swelling that does not go down with elevation, calf pain, leg redness (besides the surgical area). If you develop shortness of breath, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, call the office immediately or go to Rex Emergency Room for evaluation.

  • How is a blood clot treated?
    Blood thinning medication is used to treat a blood clot. Treatment time varies, depending on the location of the clot.

  • When can I take a tub bath or get into a whirlpool?
    You should not take a tub bath or get into a whirlpool until your incision is completely healed. This is generally 3-4 weeks after the surgery. Also, you should be sure you will be able to safely get up out of the tub or whirlpool before you can get into it.

  • I had my hip replaced and now my leg feels longer than the other leg. Why?
    Before your surgery the affected extremity may have been shorter than the unaffected extremity because of the progression of arthritis. When Dr. Vaughn does the Total Hip Replacement he measures the xrays. It may take your brain several weeks to get used to the change. Great care is taken to achieve equal leg lengths. On some occasions this may not be possible.

  • Why am I constipated and what should I do about it?
    There are several factors that cause constipation after Total Joint Replacement surgery. You had anesthesia for the surgery, you are on pain medication and you are not moving around as much as you would normally. These all cause the bowels to slow down and can cause constipation. Be sure to increase your water, fiber, and vegetable intake after surgery. You should take a stool softener. Dr. Vaughn suggests MiraLAX or Senekot, both of which can be purchased over the counter at the pharmacy. Take it twice a day until your bowels move, and then once a day while you need the pain medication. If you have not had a bowel movement in several days, you may want to try the following: Drink one cup of black coffee, followed by one cup of warm prune juice, followed by one cup of black coffee. Be close to a bathroom when you decide to try this. It is very important to increase your daily water intake while taking pain medication.

  • Since surgery I have trouble sleeping at night. What should I do?
    This is not an uncommon complaint. Try taking Benadryl 25-50mg before going to bed at night, if you are able to tolerate it. Although it is very frustrating, there are times that the sleep pattern is disrupted. We can give a prescription for short term relief. If it becomes a chronic problem you should see your Primary Care Physician.

  • Do I need antibiotics before other procedures after I have had a Total Joint Replacement?
    Yes. According to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons guidelines, patients that have Total Knee Replacement or Total Hip Replacement should take a prophylactic dose of antibiotics before dental procedures for the remainder of the patient’s life. Other procedures that require antibiotic use would include colonoscopies and other invasive surgeries done to your body. No antibiotics are necessary for cataract surgery. If you are having a procedure done and you are not sure if you need the antibiotics, call the office and we will be glad to clarify it for you.

  • When can I return to playing Golf?
    If you have a Total Hip Replacement, you may return at 6 weeks. For Total Knee Replacements, you may return at 8 weeks.

  • When can I travel after my surgery?
    Dr. Vaughn recommends that you not go on any driving trips greater than one hour for six weeks after the surgery. If this cannot be avoided you must stop every 45 minutes, get out of the car, and walk around for 5-10 minutes before resuming your trip. The reason for this is the increased risk for blood clots from staying in one position too long. Recommendation is no flying for six weeks after surgery. Everyone is at increased risk for blood clots when flying in airplanes. Therefore, your risk of blood clot six weeks after total joint replacement surgery is even higher.
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Bradley K. Vaughn, MD, FACS - Adult Joint Replacement Surgeon : (919) 781-5600 ext. 5626.
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