Find the Answers You Need

When can I drive?

A patient is ready to drive when his surgeon says he is. It is very individual and depends on which leg was operated on, what kind of car he drives, and his general progress. Some patients who had their left knee replaced and drive an automatic can be driving in as little as two weeks.

When can I take a shower?

In most cases you will be allowed to shower as soon as you leave the hospital (usually 3-4 days after surgery).

How long will I need Physical Therapy?

It depends on your progress and how dedicated you are to doing your exercises as taught in the hospital. Some patients do very well on their own without continued assistance from a physical therapist. Others will need someone to come into their home for a few weeks to make sure they are doing the exercises properly and reaching their goals.

Will I set off the metal detector at the airport?

Most likely. Security is tighter and you will probably have to be checked. Some physicians will supply you with a card but security personnel are required to check anyway. Show them your scar!

When can I have sex?

When your surgeon says it’s ok, that is usually when you feel able. Depending on your surgery you might have to adjust positions.

How will my knee feel?

Your knee might be warm and swollen for up to 3 months after surgery. It might feel a little numb around the incision. Some patients report hearing a clicking sound as the metal and plastic pieces comes in contact with each other. This is all normal.

Will I feel the prosthesis?

Some patients report a dull ache in cold weather but you will usually not feel anything.

Will I need an antibiotic for dental work?

Yes. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends antibiotics for any type of invasive procedures such as dental cleanings, dental work, or any type surgery within two years of joint replacement surgery. Be sure to inform all of your health care providers, physicians and dentists, of your joint replacement.

Will I limp?

Not if you follow all physical therapy instructions. It is important not to favor the operative leg!

How long will I need a walker or a cane?

This varies by individual. You must use the assistive device as long as necessary to be safe. Some patients no longer need them after the first week or two, others need at least a cane for several weeks.

Am I too old for joint replacement?

It depends on the individual. Someone who maintains an active lifestyle and has few medical conditions could easily have joint replacement into their 90s. An individual with many medical problems and a sedentary lifestyle would be a higher risk at any age.

What shoes are best after joint replacement surgery?

The best shoes have a low, wide heel, good shock absorption, a nonskid sole and a full heel (no clogs or backless type shoes).

When can I go back to work?

It depends on an individual’s progress after surgery and what type of work they do. Generally it would be a minimum of 6 weeks. The surgeon will advise you on this.

Do I need a physical prior to surgery?

Yes. We will have you see our internist on the day you come in for preadmission testing. This physician will do a complete history and physical. This is to be sure that you are healthy enough for surgery. This physician will also follow you after surgery while you are in the hospital. We prefer our internists because these physicians are familiar with our orthopedic surgeons and patients.

Will I be able to play golf?

Yes, absolutely. Usually within 12 weeks or so you should be able to take part in most activities such as swimming, hiking, biking, dancing. You would want to avoid high impact activities like jogging, singles tennis, and basketball.