Joint Replacement FAQs continued
When can I go outside?
You may go outside at any time. Start with short trips at first – therapy, church – and increase the number and length of outside activities, as you feel more comfortable.
When will the sutures be removed?
Sutures are usually removed in the office at the first post-operative visit at 14 days. If you are unable to come to the office at 14 days after the operation, the home health nurse will remove the sutures.
When can I drive?
Most patients must wait for six weeks before driving. However, some physicians may allow the patients to drive earlier if they feel the patients can do so safely. The type of surgery, side of surgery (left leg vs. right leg), and the patient’s overall general condition will play a part in that decision. If you wish to drive earlier than the 6-week routine prescribed, you should discuss this with your surgeon and obtain his/her approval. Consult with your surgeon for further details.
When can I return to work?
Most patients wait until at least six weeks post-surgery to return to work. Some may return earlier if they can do so safely. You should discuss your own situation with your surgeon during a follow-up visit.
How often will I need to see my surgeon?
You will need to schedule your first post-operative visit two to three weeks after discharge. The frequency of additional visits will depend on your progress. Many patients are seen at six weeks, 12 weeks and then yearly.
When can I resume sports activities?
- You may be able to try swimming, distance walking, hiking, bicycle riding, golfing and other low impact sports activities after a few weeks of rehabilitation and recovery.
- Discuss your activity level and abilities with your surgeon.
When will I be able to have sexual intercourse after surgery?
In most cases, you may resume sexual activity when you feel comfortable enough to do so. Make sure to heed any position restrictions recommended by your caregivers. In general, most patients resume normal sexual activities within 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Will I notice anything different about my knee?
You may have a small area of numbness on the outside of the scar for a year or more. Kneeling may be uncomfortable for a year or so, and you may notice clicking when you move your knee.
Why is the outside part of my knee numb?
The numb area along the front and outside of your knee (and sometimes-lower leg) is the expected result of making the incision in the front of your knee. This incision interrupts small superficial skin nerves that supply the skin on the front and outside of the knee. This area of numbness shrinks in size over time, so that what starts out as a large area usually ends up as only a small area. This process can take six months to a year. This area of numbness is not harmful, but can be annoying. It occurs in everyone and is permanent. Also, if the operation takes two hours or more, some people experience a transient feeling of numbness in the whole leg which disappears in 24 to 48 hours.
Why is there a drain in my knee?
The drain helps prevent excessive swelling/bleeding that might otherwise require removal with a needle on the first day or two after surgery. The drain will be removed at your first postoperative visit.
Do I need to take antibiotics for dental procedures if I've had a joint replacement?
Yes you do. For the rest of your life you need to use antibiotic prophylaxis to reduce the chance that infection develops in the bone or around the implant.
What other procedures or conditions require prophylactic antibiotics?
We recommend you take antibiotics to protect your joint replacement if you are having any genito-urinary procedures such as a cystoscopy or TURP. You should also be protected for any gastrointestinal or biliary (gallbladder) surgeries. Any skin infections such as a boil, furuncle, or abscess also require treatment.