— Not an actual patient/physician

Questions to Ask When Considering Knee Replacement Surgery

The prospect of having surgery can be daunting. It can be hard to even know what questions to ask. Here’s a list to get the conversation with your doctor started.
July 9, 2019 | 4 min read
Christa S. Plew, MBA
Editor-in-Chief

The idea of discussing knee replacement surgery with your doctor can be intimidating. Here are some questions that may be helpful to ask your doctor when considering knee surgery. You can even print this list and take it with you to your appointment. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your pain to share with your doctor at the same time.

For information about the risks associated with knee replacement surgery, click here.

About surgery…

1. How do you determine whether or not I need knee surgery?

2. What would happen if I wait six months? One year?

3. Are there alternative treatments I could try first?

4. What is the difference between a partial knee replacement and a total knee replacement?

5. Which do I need?

6. What are the most common complications and how are they treated?

7. How many times have you performed this surgery?

8. How involved were you in each surgery? What role do residents play?

About recovery…

9. What is the expected recovery time?

10. How long will I have to be away from work?

11. How will I feel in one month after surgery? Two months? One year?

12. How many days will I be in the hospital after surgery?

13. Will I have physical therapy? If so, how often and for how long?

14. Will I need full-time or part-time care? If so, for how long?

About returning to activity…

15. When will I be able to walk after surgery?

16. Will I need crutches or a walker? If so, for how long?

17. When will I be able to climb stairs after surgery?

18. When will I be able to drive a car after surgery?

19. When can I lie on the operative side after surgery?

20. When can I shower after surgery?

21. When will I be able to resume normal lifestyle activities (e.g., work, sports, housework, gardening, etc.)?

22. Which sports, if any, will I be able to play again?

23. Are there lifting limits?

24. When is sexual intercourse feasible after surgery?

25. Will I set off metal detectors at the airport?

26. Will I need antibiotics for dental care?

About the implant…

27. What is the implant made of?

28. Is there a possibility the implants will need to be replaced?

29. What can I do to help keep my joint replacement functioning as long as possible?

While not an exhaustive list, at least you have a starting point to open a conversation with your doctor. You can also download and take this Guide to total joint surgery with you.
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