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Curious? Concerned? Just click on the links below for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. You can even submit your own question about your condition or our services. This archive does not address all conditions, and answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone so, if you have been injured or are experiencing medical symptoms, be sure to consult a doctor. Click below for more information on:

Frequently Asked Questions About Joint Replacement

Q: How do I know whether I need a joint replacement?

A: When joint pain interferes with your ability carry out daily activities or disturbs your sleep, it may be time to consider joint replacement.

Q: Will my insurance cover joint replacement?

A: This is generally a covered service, however, there are more than 450 insurance plans in the United States, so we cannot determine what is covered by your plan. Please look over the terms of your plan and talk with your insurer or your employer’s insurance liaison to determine the coverage available to you for surgery and therapy. We accept most insurance plans, but it is wise to check before making an appointment.

Q: Are most patients satisfied after joint replacement surgery?

A: Studies show that the majority of patients are happy with their surgery and that many wish they had done it earlier. Pain relief is the major advantage, with restoration of joint mobility a big factor as well. Talk with your doctor about what results you can expect and make sure you have a realistic idea of what you will be able to do after the surgery.

Q: Will I set off the metal detector at the airport?

A: It is probable that the metal in your new joint will set off metal detectors. We can provide you with a card stating that you have a joint prosthesis. Have this ready with your boarding pass and ID when you go through screening. Some screeners will still insist that you also be patted down or wanded for metal items before proceeding.

Q: How can I prepare for surgery?

A: There are several things you can do to enhance the results of your surgery and make your recovery safer and more comfortable: Arrange for help after you get home and arrange your belongings to reduce tripping hazards.

  • If your doctor has suggested you lose weight, try changing your diet and be as active as you can. Be sure that any dieting involves maintaining good nutrition. Malnutrition is one of the factors that will adversely affect healing after surgery.
  • If you’re a smoker, try to quit. Smoking can slow down your healing.
  • Ask your doctor about the available classes on strengthening exercises you can do before surgery to reduce healing time.
  • If you have not seen a dentist in the past two years or have loose or broken teeth, these should be evaluated before joint replacement. A bad tooth is a type of chronic infection.

Q: What equipment will I need at home?

A: Helpful items include a bath or shower chair, a hand-held showerhead, a long-handled grabber, and an elevated toilet seat. Professionally installed grab bars in your bathroom are a good idea. The hospital discharge planner will help you obtain such items prior to your discharge.

Q: Can I take my usual medications before surgery?

A: When you have your pre-operative physical, the doctor will address each of your medicines and their use prior to surgery. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines, mainly NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, affect the blood’s ability to clot. You should stop taking them for 5 days before your operation. Unless otherwise discussed, you should stay on your regular blood pressure or other medications for the heart. You can take your morning medications before surgery with a small sip of water. Be sure to bring your medications to the hospital to review with the nurses and doctors.

Q: How long will I miss work?

A: Most people undergoing total knee or hip replacement should plan to take at least four to six weeks off. For partial knee or less invasive hip surgery, the time may be less, every case is unique. Make sure your surgeon knows how physically demanding your work is, so that he or she can make the proper recommendation.

Q: Why do I have to take a blood-thinning drug after surgery?

A: Any kind of invasive surgery increases your risk of developing blood clots. The blood thinners—or anticoagulants—reduce the risk of clots. We use different medicines based on each patient’s procedure and clotting risk.

Q: Should I tell my other doctors and dentists that I have had a joint replacement?

A: Yes. Your joint replacement makes you somewhat more susceptible to infection. You will need to take antibiotics for the rest of your life prior to dental surgery or some invasive surgical procedures. The incidence of such infections is small, but preventive treatment can further minimize the risk.

Q: What should I not do after knee and hip replacement?

A: Avoid high-impact exercise such as running or jogging on hard pavement, or any activities that involve sudden jolts to your body (such as judo, skydiving, touch football, etc.). Implants are durable, but will wear out with heavy use. The best exercises for lower extremity fitness after joint replacement are swimming, the elliptical trainer or the stationary bicycle. To ensure a long life for your implant, just use common sense.