Hip or knee replacement - after - what to ask your doctor
What to ask your doctor after hip or knee replacement; Hip replacement - after - what to ask your doctor; Knee replacement - after - what to ask your doctor; Hip arthroplasty - after - what to ask your doctor; Knee arthroplasty - after - what to ask your doctor
You had surgery to get a new hip or knee joint while you were in the hospital.
Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your new joint.
Your hip is hurting so bad, you can't sleep. It's hard to bathe, to clean, make it to the mailbox or shop at the mall. You may have severe arthritis in your hip, and there's a good chance you need a hip replacement. Hip replacements are usually done in people age 60 and older. If you need one, you probably have severe arthritis that limits your daily life, or perhaps have a hip fracture. Your hip joint is made up of two parts, the hip socket and the upper end of the thigh bone. One or both parts may be replaced during surgery. Your new hip will probably have a socket made of strong metal, a liner that fits inside the socket, usually plastic, a metal or ceramic ball to replace the round head of your thigh bone, and a metal stem attached to the thigh bone to make your joint more stable. So, how is the hip replacement procedure done? Well you won't not feel any pain during surgery because you will have medicine to make you fall asleep. The surgeon will cut and remove the head of your thigh bone and clean out your hip socket, removing cartilage and damaged or arthritic bone. The surgeon will put the new hip socket in place, insert the metal stem into your thigh bone, and place the ball for a new joint. Cement will probably hold the new joint in place. The surgery can take several hours. After the surgery, you will probably stay in the hospital for three to five days. As soon as the first day after surgery, you will be asked to start moving and walking around with a walker, crutches, or a cane. You will need physical therapy to strengthen your new joint for up to several weeks after your operation. Some people need a short stay in a rehabilitation center after they leave the hospital. At the rehab center, you will learn how to safely do your daily activities on your own. Your new hip should allow you to resume your daily activities once you've learned to move around on your own. In the long run, over 20 years or so, the joint may need to be placed again. But, in the short run, most or all of your pain should go away. The stiffness should go away. Your doctor should be able to monitor any problems and you should enjoy your new joint.
How long will I need to use crutches or a walker after I go home?
- How much walking can I do?
- When can I begin to place weight on my new joint? How much?
- Do I need to be careful about how I sit or move around?
- What are things that I should not do?
- Will I be able to walk without pain? How far?
- When will I be able to do other activities, such as golf, swimming, tennis, or hiking?
- Can I use a cane? When?
Will I have pain medicines when I go home? How should I take them?
Will I need to take blood thinners when I go home? How long would it be?
What exercises can or should I do after surgery?
- Do I need to go for physical therapy? How often and for how long?
- What precautions should I have with my new joint?
- When can I drive?
How can I get my home ready before I even go to the hospital?
- How much help will I need when I come home? Will I be able to get out of bed?
- How can I make my home safer for me?
- How can I make my home easier to get around?
- How can I make it easier for myself in the bathroom and shower?
- What type of supplies will I need when I get home?
- Do I need to rearrange my home?
- What should I do if there are steps that go to my bedroom or bathroom?
- Do I need a hospital bed?
What are the signs that something is wrong with my new hip or knee?
- How can I prevent problems with my new hip or knee?
- When should I call the provider?
How do I take care of my surgical wound?
- How often should I change the dressing? How do I wash the wound?
- What should my wound look like? What wound problems do I need to watch out for?
- When do sutures and staples come out?
- When can I take a shower? Can I take a bath or soak in the hot tub?
- When can I go back to see my dentist? Do I need to take any antibiotics before seeing the dentist?
Harkness JW, Crockarell JR. Arthroplasty of the hip. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 3.
Mihalko WM. Arthroplasty of the knee. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 7.
Last reviewed on: 4/24/2023
Reviewed by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.