Hip or knee replacement - before - what to ask your doctor
What to ask your doctor before hip or knee replacement; Hip replacement - before - what to ask your doctor; Knee replacement - before - what to ask your doctor; Hip arthroplasty - before - what to ask your doctor; Knee arthroplasty - before - what to ask your doctor
You are going to have a hip or knee joint replacement surgery to replace all or part of your hip or knee joint with an artificial device (a prosthesis).
Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you prepare for your hip or knee replacement.
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.
Is joint replacement the best treatment for me right now? What other treatments should I think about?
- How well does this surgery work for someone my age and with any of the medical problems I may have?
- Will I be able to walk without pain? How far?
- Will I be able to return to other activities, such as golf, swimming, tennis, or hiking? When can I do them?
Is there anything that I can do before the surgery so it will be more successful for me?
- Are there exercises I should do to make my muscles stronger?
- Can I learn to use crutches or a walker before I have the surgery?
- Do I need to lose weight before surgery?
- Where can I get help quitting cigarettes or not drinking alcohol, if I need to?
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 so it is easier to get around and do things?
- 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?
- Do I need to go to a rehabilitation facility?
What are the risks or complications of the surgery?
- What can I do before surgery to make the risks lower?
- For which of my medical problems (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure) do I need to see my regular provider?
Will I need a blood transfusion during or after the surgery? Isn't there a way of saving my own blood before the surgery so it can be used during the surgery?
What will the surgery and my stay in the hospital be like?
- How long will the surgery last?
- What type of anesthesia will be used? Are there choices to consider?
- Will I be in a lot of pain after surgery? What will be done to relieve the pain?
- How soon will I be getting up and moving around?
- How do I get to the bathroom after surgery? Would I have a catheter in my bladder?
- Will I have physical therapy in the hospital?
- What other types of treatment or therapy will I have at the hospital?
- How long do I need to be in the hospital?
Will I be able to walk when I leave the hospital?
- Will I be able to go home after being in the hospital?
- Where will I go if I need to recover more before going home?
Do I need to stop taking any medicines before my surgery?
- Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or other arthritis drugs?
- Vitamins, minerals, herbs, and supplements?
- Blood thinners such as warfarin, clopidogrel, or others?
- Other prescription drugs that my other doctors may have given me?
What should I do the night before my surgery?
- When do I need to stop eating or drinking?
- What medicines should I take the day of surgery?
- When do I need to be at the hospital?
- What should I bring with me to the hospital?
- Do I need to shower with any particular soap?
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: 6/13/2021
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 Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.