When will my pain go away?
You can expect to have some pain for several weeks. However, post-surgical pain is different from the deep, aching pain most people experience before surgery. Your new or repaired joint should eventually relieve the pain and stiffness you’ve had prior to surgery.
Where will I go after discharge from the hospital?
Research shows that joint replacement patients who recover at home get better faster and with fewer complications. The vast majority of our patients will go directly home with home care services 1-2 days after surgery.
Some patients, however, need more care, and a skilled nursing facility (a nursing home that provides rehab services) may be recommended. Your insurance plan will dictate whether a skilled nursing facility is an option for you. Even if your insurance company states that you have coverage for skilled nursing facility, that does not mean you will necessarily qualify for it.
Will I need any special medication after surgery?
Your surgeon will determine the medications necessary to assist in your recovery and will prescribe them prior to your discharge. In some cases, these include blood thinners to prevent blood clots.
As a convenience, your discharge prescriptions will be filled at the Highland Pharmacy, located immediately off the main lobby. Leaving the hospital with your medicine is not only easier than stopping on the way home, but it also helps ensure you do not miss any doses. Your co-pays and price will be the same as at your home pharmacy and we can easily send any refills there.
Will I need help at home?
Yes. Family and friends will need to be available to help for the first week following your surgery. Your home care coordinator will arrange for a nurse and physical therapist to come to your house as needed.
What if I live alone?
Plan to have your surgery when family members or friends will be available to help for the first week after surgery.
What equipment will I need at home?
If you have hip or knee replacement surgery, you will need a standard walker, cane, or crutche and may want to consider a raised toilet seat. A tub bench and grab bars in the tub or shower are helpful too. Your occupational therapist may also recommend a reaching tool, a sock aid, a long-handled shoehorn, elastic shoelaces, and a long-handled sponge or back brush.
Will I need physical and occupational therapy at home?
You will need both. Your home care coordinator will arrange for a physical therapist to provide therapy. An occupational therapist will assess your ability to manage your daily living activities and guide you through hygiene, dressing, and homemaking skills.
How will I get to my follow up medical appointment and to outpatient physical therapy if needed?
You may not drive after joint replacement surgery until cleared by your surgeon. Arrange for a friend or family member to provide transportation.
When can I go back to work after joint replacement?
You may go back to work when approved by your surgeon—usually 6 weeks for non-physical work and 12 weeks for more strenuous jobs.
When can I have sexual intercourse?
You can usually resume sexual intercourse after 3 to 6 weeks. Your occupational therapist can discuss it with you upon request.
What activities may I participate in after recovery?
You should discuss specific activities with your surgeon, but you are encouraged to participate in low impact activities such as walking, dancing, golfing, hiking, swimming, bicycling, or gardening as soon as you feel able.
Will I notice anything different about my joint?
Yes. You may have a small area of numbness to the outside of the scar. The joint may feel stiff with movement. With total knee replacement, there may be a slight swelling and warmth for a year. A "clicking" sound or sensation is a common finding and represents normal mechanical contact of the plastic and metal components in your knee prosthesis.
How often will I need to be seen by my surgeon following the surgery?
Your first post-operative office visit will be:
- Total hip replacement: 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery
- Total knee replacement: 2 to 6 weeks after your surgery
The frequency of follow-up visits will depend on your progress. Many patients are seen at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and then yearly or as directed.