Joint Replacement FAQs

What is a total joint replacement? 

During total joint replacement surgery, an orthopaedic surgeon removes and replaces an arthritic or damaged joint with an artificial joint known as a prosthesis.

How do I know if joint replacement surgery is right for me?             

You should begin by discussing your condition with your primary care physician. Your doctor can determine if you should see an orthopaedic surgeon.

An orthopaedic specialist will perform tests to assess your condition. The surgeon will then make recommendations for any treatment you may need. Depending on your situation, that may involve a total joint replacement.

Most joint replacements – 70 percent – are performed because arthritis has stiffened the patients’ joints. The patients are in so much pain they can no longer participate in normal activities.

Will joint replacement improve my condition? 

After joint replacement, many people have less pain, are more active, and enjoy an improved quality of life. Your experience after surgery depends on many factors, including:

  • your physical condition before surgery
  • your weight
  • your activity level
  • your willingness to follow your surgeon’s instructions before and after surgery

Like any surgical procedure, joint surgery involves potential risks. It also requires recovery time.

When should I have this type of surgery? 

Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine if a total joint replacement is right for you. The surgeon’s decision will be based on many factors, including:

  • Your medical history
  • The surgeon’s examination of you
  • Your X-rays and results of any other diagnostic imaging or testing

The surgeon will work with you to assess whether your level of pain, stiffness, and disability make joint replacement surgery a good choice for you.

If non-surgical treatment currently is managing your pain, there is no harm in waiting before having joint replacement surgery.

Am I too old for joint replacement surgery? 

If you’re in reasonably good health, age typically is not a factor.

How long will I be in the hospital? 

You should expect a 2-3 day hospital stay and 2-6 weeks of outpatient therapy before returning to normal activities.

What activities will I be able to do after my surgery? 

Your activity level after surgery depends on:

  • The type of surgery you had
  • Your health
  • The progress you’ve made during your recovery

Most patients are able to return to some low-impact activities within two weeks.

Our orthopaedic specialists generally discourage patients from attempting jarring, high-impact activities such as running or strenuous sports following a knee, hip, or shoulder replacement.