Are there any risks in having a joint replacement surgery?
All surgical procedures involve risks. Your surgeon will discuss with you
the major risks associated with your procedure. You will be treated with
antibiotics before and after surgery to help avoid infection. You will
also receive anticoagulant (blood thinning) medication to decrease the
risk of developing blood clots. Please discuss any concerns you have regarding
your joint replacement with your surgeon.
Will I be awake during surgery?
Two types of anesthesia are most commonly used for joint replacement surgeries.
General anesthesia allows you to sleep during the procedure. Spinal anesthesia
is also an option for some patients. It allows certain areas of the body
to be numbed for a procedure while also receiving medication to make you
sleepy. There are several determining factors into which type of anesthesia
is recommended for each patient. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will
discuss the options with you before surgery.
How long will my surgery last?
Average surgery time for a joint replacement is one to three hours. Your
time may be more or less, depending on your specific circumstances.
Will I have pain after surgery?
Joint replacements are major procedures and you will experience some pain
afterwards. Most patients will have a moderate amount of discomfort for
the first couple of days after surgery. Pain medications will be administered
to you through an IV and then with pain pills. Our staff is dedicated
to helping you manage your pain and learning other techniques that will
increase your comfort level.
When can I walk?
You may get up and walk with a physical therapist on the day of surgery,
if your doctor has ordered it. Otherwise, you will begin physical therapy
the morning after surgery. We ask that you always call for assistance
in getting out of bed. Your physical therapist will inform you when you
are safe to move on your own.
Will I need a walker or cane after surgery?
You will need an assistive device, such as a walker, cane or crutches,
after surgery. These will only be temporary and your surgeon will determine
how long you will need the device. We work with you and your insurance
provider to provide you with the appropriate equipment before leaving
When can I shower?
Your surgeon will determine when you may shower after surgery. Our staff
will assist you with daily baths while in the hospital. You will not be
able to sit down in a bathtub for several months after surgery. Talk with
your surgeon on how long you will need to wait before sitting in a bathtub.
How long will I be in the hospital?
The average stay for a joint replacement is three to four days. Your stay
with us may be shorter or longer, depending on your progress. Our social
worker will help you with a discharge plan to home, rehabilitation center
or skilled nursing facility.
Will I need home health or physical therapy at home?
You will receive visits from a home health nurse and a physical therapist
at your home after surgery. A representative from the home health agency
will visit you in the hospital and provide you with more information.
Physical therapy will also continue at home or in an outpatient setting.
Following home health, your physician may recommend you have outpatient
Can I drive after surgery?
You cannot drive immediately after surgery and should have arrangements
for someone to bring you home from the hospital. Typically patients may
resume driving four to six weeks after surgery. Discuss with your surgeon
when you may begin driving after your joint replacement.
When will I need to see my surgeon again?
Your doctor will instruct you on when a follow-up appointment will be needed.
You will also be given instructions at discharge on how to contact the
surgeon’s office to make an appointment or if you should have any
issues after returning home.