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Common Questions After Joint Replacement Surgery

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Can I drink alcohol?

Yes, but if you have been given Coumadin (Warfarin) as a blood thinner, it must be in moderation as it will cause an elevation in your blood thinness. If you are also using narcotics, alcohol will modify their effect.

Is feeling depressed normal?

It is common to have some mood alteration after joint replacement. Having limited mobility, pain and dependency on others can cause these alterations. Medication side effects can also cause mood problems. These feelings will generally resolve as activity increases. If you have significant concerns please contact us or your family doctor.

What should I do if I cannot sleep?

This is very common after surgery. Some over-the-counter medications like Benadryl or melatonin can help. We can also provide a sleep aid for a short time after your surgery.

What about constipation after surgery?

You will be discharged with a prescription for Colace, which we recommend you take the entire time you are on narcotics or iron supplements. Let us know if you are having problems, as we can help with other prescription medicines, if necessary.

When can I resume sexual intercourse?

As soon as you feel comfortable. During therapy, you will learn what hip movements require caution, and you are always welcome to ask at your therapy appointments if you have concerns. Remember, there are very few questions we haven't been asked.

What activities are safe after the surgery?

  • Stairs - initially up with the nonoperative leg and down with the operative leg. You will probably get back to normal stair climbing at a month.
  • Early Recreation - most people can return to all normal activities, walking, yard or garden work and golf by six weeks. Twisting activities and those that require light jogging three months.
  • Late Recreation - most will be able to perform daily activities without problems. More strenuous exercise should be limited. Lifting heavy weights, running/pounding or performing squats also should be limited after joint replacement surgery.

Do I need antibiotics?

Only 1 day following surgery, but antibiotics will be given lifelong for dental procedures.

Will I set off metal detectors?

Yes, there is potential to set off security metal detectors. It is much more common for knee replacements to set off detectors than hip. Wear clothing that will allow you to easily show the surgical scar.

What range of motion do I need?

You can get around with a very stiff knee if it is pain-free. Normal activities require the following motion for knee replacement: 70 degrees of motion for level walking, 90 degrees for going up stairs and 100 degrees to descend easily, 110 degrees to get up from a low chair without using your arms.

Getting your leg as straight as possible will decrease the energy required to walk and stand. Hip range of motion is generally not a problem to achieve.