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Frequently Asked Questions

Joint Replacement at the Arthritis Institute Questions

The Arthritis Institute is proud to help others through education. These pages that follow contain general information. Consult your doctor about specific treatments and any questions regarding your care.

Joint Replacement at the Arthritis Institute Questions

Question: What is the success rate in joint replacements?

Answer: Very high. It is one of the most common procedures done in the United States. With current materials and with a total hip replacement performed with computer navigation the longevity can be 30 years for hip replacement. Knees have similar longevity. The need for reoperation in the first ten years is 3 - 5%.

 

Question: How long does the operation take?

Answer: The operation typically takes about one hour. Plus, the patient is typically up and taking first steps the same day.

Partial knee can go home the same day or in 24 hours.

 

Question: How many days will I be in the hospital?

Answer: The average length of stay is 24 to 48 hours for hip patients, and 2-3 days for knee patients. Some hip patients can go home the same day!

Question: Do lifestyle and nutritional factors affect the outcome of orthopaedic surgery?

Answer: Yes. The lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol use, drug abuse, as well as the nutritional status of the patient can significantly influence the outcome for the orthopaedic surgery patient. Numerous studies have shown that protein/calorie malnutrition is associated with high complication rates, increased hospital length of stay, and higher mortality (death rate). Likewise, cigarette smoking has been shown to impede wound healing and interferes with bone fusion. The link between alcohol abuse and osteonecrosis of the femoral head (where the head of the femur loses the circulation) has been well documented. Furthermore, heavy alcohol use represents a disproportionate number of trauma victims sustaining a greater number of inpatient complications. Finally, the obese patient presents a certain perioperative risk that the surgeon must take into consideration.

 

Question: Following surgery, will I be able to manage to get in and out of bed by myself?

Answer: Yes, you will be able to do this before you go home. A physical therapist (PT) will help you learn how to safely get in and out of bed. He/she will also teach you a strengthening and flexibility exercise program for specific muscle groups that is designed to increase strength and motion in your muscles.

 

Question: How mobile will I be after surgery?

Answer: You will learn to walk with the appropriate walking device (crutches, cane, etc.) not only inside the hospital, but on environmental surfaces such as concrete sidewalks, curbs and inclines. Your PT will help you walk up and down stairs if necessary and you will be instructed how to get in and out of a car while using any necessary precautions. Home safety is an important issue that will be discussed and your PT will suggest throw rugs are lifted and any extension/phone cords are safely placed away from walking areas.

 

Question: How will my daily activities be affected by the surgery?

Answer: You will be capable of doing the activities of daily living when you go home. They will get easier each week! A team of health care professionals (a medical doctor, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, recreational therapists and a social worker) will insure you are safe when you go home.

The occupational therapist (OT) will teach you how to perform your activities of daily living (ADLs) which may include grooming/hygiene, dressing, bathing, toileting, shower stall/tub transfers, and homemaking endeavors such as kitchen and laundry tasks. In order to execute ADL tasks optimally you are encouraged to bring personal belongings from home such as: loose fitting, comfortable clothing (walking shorts, t-shirts, house dresses, sweat suits):non-skid shoes/slippers with enclosed heel; toiletries (shampoo, makeup, shaving supplies); and personal assistive devices (reachers, long handled shoehorns). Any equipment necessary for you to perform your ADL's at home will be issued to you prior to discharge from the hospital.

Hip Replacement Surgical Questions >

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