Frequently Asked Questions
We are glad you are considering Sentara OrthoJoint Centers to care for you. People facing joint surgery often have the same questions. If there are any other questions that you need answered, please ask your surgeon or the orthopedic patient coordinator. We are here to help.
How long will my new joint last and can a second replacement be done?
All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on an individual’s age, weight, activity level, and medical condition(s). A total joint implant’s longevity will vary in every patient. It is important to remember that an implant is a medical device subject to wear that may lead to mechanical failure. While it is important to follow all of your surgeon’s recommendations after surgery, there is no guarantee that your particular implant will last for any specified length of time.
What are the major risks?
Most surgeries go well, without any complications. Infection and blood clots are two serious complications. To avoid these complications, your surgeon may use antibiotics and blood thinners. Surgeons also take special precautions in the operating room to reduce the risk of infection.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Some patients are up the day of surgery. The next morning patients will get up, sit in a chair or recliner, and should be walking with a walker or crutches. Most hip patients will be hospitalized for 2-3 days after surgery. There are several goals that must be achieved before discharge.
What if I live alone?
Three options are available to you. You may return home and receive help from a relative or friend. You can have a home health nurse and physical therapist visit you at home for two or three weeks. You may also stay in a skilled nursing facility following your hospital stay, depending on your insurance.
How do I make arrangements for surgery?
After your surgeon has scheduled surgery, a member of our team will schedule your pre-medical clearance appointment and preoperative joint class. We are always available for questions every step of the way.
What happens during the surgery?
Approximately one to two hours is reserved for surgery. Some of this time will be taken by the operating room staff to prepare for surgery. You may have a general anesthetic. Some patients prefer to have a spinal or regional anesthetic to numb the area, in addition to general anesthesia. The choice for a spinal or regional anesthetic is between you, your surgeon, and the anesthesiologists. Refer to your patient guidebook for more information.
Will the surgery be painful?
You will have discomfort following the surgery, but we will try to keep you as comfortable as possible with the appropriate medication. After surgery, most patients control their own medication with a special pump that delivers the drug directly into their IV.
Will I need a walker or crutches?
Patients progress at their own rate. Normally we recommend that you use walker, crutches, or a cane from four to six weeks. A member of our team will arrange for them if necessary.
Where will I go after discharge from the hospital?
Most patients are able to go home directly after discharge. Some patients may transfer to a skilled nursing facility, where they will stay from three to ten days. The team will help you with this decision and make the necessary arrangements. You should check with your insurance company to see if you have rehab benefits.
Will I need help at home?
Yes, for the first few days or weeks, depending on your progress, you will need someone to assist you with meal preparation, housework, etc. If you go directly home from the hospital, a member of our team will arrange for a home health nurse to come to your house as needed. Family or friend need to be available to help if possible. Preparing ahead of time, before your surgery, can minimize the amount of help needed. Having the laundry done, house cleaned, yard work completed, clean linens put on the bed, and single portion frozen meals will help reduce the need for extra help.
Will I need physical therapy when I go home?
Yes, you will have either outpatient or in-home physical therapy. Patients are encouraged to utilize outpatient physical therapy. A member of our team will help you arrange for an outpatient physical therapy appointment. If you need home physical therapy, we will arrange for a physical therapist to provide therapy in your home. Following this, you may go to an outpatient facility two to three times a week to assist in your rehabilitation. The length of time for this type of therapy, and when the therapy starts, varies with each patient.
Will my new joint set off security sensors when traveling?
Your joint replacement is made of a metal alloy and may or may not be detected when going through some security devices. Inform the security agent you have a metal implant. The agent will direct you on the security screening procedure. You should carry a medic alert card indicating that you have an artificial joint. Check with your surgeon on how to obtain one.