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Joint Surgery FAQs

How long will I need to use a walker?

How long will my surgical site be warm and swollen?

Why is it numb around my incision site?

How do I manage the surgical swelling and heat at home?

How long will I need to be on pain medication?

Will I have trouble sleeping after surgery?

How long will I be on a blood thinner?

Do I need antibiotics before dental work or invasive medical procedures, such as a colonoscopy?

What can I do to prevent a blood clot?

What are the signs and symptoms of a blood clot?

What are the signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism?

What are the signs and symptoms of an infection?

Will there be changes in my mood after surgery?

What will my total hip replacement look like?

What will my total knee replacement look like?

What will my partial knee replacement look like?

When will my staples be removed?

How long will my new joint last? What can I do to maximize the implant life?

How do I minimize the chance of dislocating my hip?

Will I be able to resume my activities after surgery without hurting my new joint?

When can I travel?

Can I kneel on my operated knee?

When will I be able to drive my car?

Why does my knee click when I walk?

How long will I need to use a walker?

Depending on your post-op progress, you should be able to graduate from a walker to a cane in two to four  weeks and to independent walking within four to eight weeks.

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How long will my surgical site be warm and swollen?

It is normal for the area to be warm, bruised and swollen after surgery. This will progressively improve in the coming weeks. Some fullness may be noted for up to six months.

How long will my surgical site be warm and swollen?  

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Why is it numb around my incision site?

It is normal to have some numbness due to the disruption of skin nerves along the incision. Most sensation should return within four to six months after surgery.

Why is it numb around my incision site  

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How do I manage the surgical swelling and heat at home?

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) will help reduce the leg swelling. Do not sit for prolonged periods with your legs down. 

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How long will I need to be on pain medication?

Most people are able to switch from narcotics to over-the-counter pain relievers three to six weeks after surgery.

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Will I have trouble sleeping after surgery?

To help return to your “normal” sleeping, make sure to stay active during the day, avoid long naps, and take your pain medicine as needed to sleep.

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How long will I be on a blood thinner?


Depending on your medical history, you may be on a blood thinner for 12 days to six weeks after surgery.

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Do I need antibiotics before dental work or invasive medical procedures, such as a colonoscopy?

You should inform your dentist or doctor about your joint replacement prior to a procedure. They will determine if preventive antibiotic therapy is needed.

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What can I do to prevent a blood clot?

Take the prescribed medication, wear compression hose, perform ankle pumps, and walk hourly during the day.

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What are the signs and symptoms of a blood clot?

Signs and symptoms of a blood clot include: tenderness in the calf; pain and swelling in the leg not relieved by elevation and rest; redness in the leg; and increased warmth in the leg.

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What are the signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism?

Signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include: unexplained shortness of breath; difficulty breathing; chest pain and coughing; and/or a rapid heart rate.

Pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency. Call 911 you suspect a pulmonary embolism.

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What are the signs and symptoms of an infection?

Signs that should be reported to your surgeon include increased drainage, fever, pain, redness and heat around the incision.

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Will there be changes in my mood after surgery?

Pain, limited mobility, medication side effects and reliance on others can lead to feelings of depression after surgery. With time, this should improve. Consult your surgeon if symptoms persist.

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What will my total hip replacement look like?

What will my total hip replacement look like

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What will my total knee replacement look like?

What will my total knee replacement look like 

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What will my partial knee replacement look like?

What will my partial knee replacement look like

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When will my staples be removed?

Staples are usually removed 10 to 16 days after surgery. Sometimes, there may be dissolvable sutures that do not need to be removed.

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How long will my new joint last? What can I do to maximize the implant life?

Most implants last 20 years; however, some may wear out and loosen over time. To minimize risk, keep your weight in normal range, muscles strong and flexible, and avoid high impact activities.

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How do I minimize the chance of dislocating my hip?

Follow your hip precautions: no bending at the waist past 90 degrees; do not cross your legs; do not twist on your operative hip.

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Will I be able to resume my activities after surgery without hurting my new joint?


You can resume low-impact activities such as walking, swimming and golfing after you heal. Consult with your surgeon or therapist if you have questions about specific sports.

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When can I travel?

You can travel when you feel comfortable. Remember to stretch and walk at least once an hour, and do your ankle pumps while sitting to avoid blood clots.

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Can I kneel on my operated knee?

You should wait 10 to 12 weeks prior to kneeling on your knee. This may be uncomfortable at first; be sure to use the protection of a knee pad. Do not kneel directly on your knee cap.

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When will I be able to drive my car?


Most patients can drive by four to six weeks, but it will depend on which leg is affected and how well you are functioning. You should not drive while taking pain medicine. Consult with your surgeon or therapist.

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Why does my knee click when I walk?

The mechanical components may click as you walk. Over time, as the knee heals, this will be less noticeable.

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