Commonly Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of the most asked questions patients have regarding joint replacement surgery. Please reach out to your care team if you have any further questions that are not answered below.

What if I am positive for Staph/MRSA?

If you are positive for staph, the office will call and give you special instructions that include taking a series of preoperative showers with antiseptic soap (Hibiclens/Bactoshield) and applying an antibiotic ointment to your nose. The office will call in a prescription for 2% Mupirocin nasal ointment (Bactroban).

  • Dab a small amount of ointment, about the size of a match head, onto a Q-tip.
  • Apply ointment to the inside front part of both nostrils.
  • Press the nostrils closed to spread the ointment throughout the nostrils.
  • Do this twice a day (morning and before bed) for five days.
  • Begin preoperative showers protocol five days before your surgical procedure is scheduled.
  • Follow instructions as outlined in the patient education preoperative showers section.
    • Bathe or shower every day with Hibiclens/Bactoshield.
    • On the morning of your surgical procedure, shower or bathe again with Hibiclens/Bactoshield.
    • You should have completed six showers or baths with this antiseptic.
  • Use the enclosed grid (see Appendix 6 of the PDF guide) to keep track of your preoperative skin cleansing schedule and bring it to the hospital on the day of your surgery.

Am I considered an inpatient or outpatient?

If you have any questions about inpatient vs. outpatient status, it's important to discuss this in advance with your surgeon or your surgical coordinator.

  • A general rule of thumb is, your stay in the hospital may be considered an outpatient stay if you stay only one overnight.
  • If you stay more than one overnight due to medical reasons, you may be considered an inpatient.
  • Be sure you know what your insurance plan covers for inpatient vs. outpatient and which one your surgeon is recommending.
  • The surgeon's office may also need to contact your insurance company for approval for the surgery based on your status as an inpatient or an outpatient. This is called a prior authorization. With certain insurances, you cannot proceed with surgery unless you have this authorization.
  • Be sure your surgeon's office has contacted your insurance company for a prior authorization, if needed, as this can mean that your copay is different.

When may family/visitors see me after surgery?

After your surgery, it may take between two and six hours to arrive on the surgical unit. The recovery time for each individual can vary and depends on your response to anesthesia and pain medications. Visitors can wait in the designated waiting rooms.

Once you are brought to the surgical unit, the staff will need a few minutes to get you settled and comfortable and ready for visitors.

May I take my own medications?

NEVER take your own medications while you are in the hospital, unless you are requested to do so by your nurse. Please bring a current list of your medications (see Appendix 3 of the PDF guide) so that we can have them ordered for you by your doctors.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Your length of stay is dependent upon your medical status and how well you are progressing with your physical therapy. On average, patients spend one or two nights on the orthopaedic unit after hip or knee replacement surgery. Partial joint replacement patients typically go home the same day as surgery.

Where will I be going after surgery?

You should expect to go home after discharge from the hospital. Further therapy services are arranged for by an assigned social worker or case manager if there is a medical need after a physical therapy evaluation and as per physician protocol.

How soon after surgery may I eat?

Hip or knee replacement patients usually start with clear liquids. If you do not become nauseated, you will be advanced to your preadmission diet.

When may I shower?

This varies depending on your surgeon’s instructions, but typically you may shower within 48 to 72 hours after surgery or as instructed by nurse on discharge.

What are anticoagulants

Anticoagulants (blood thinners) are a type of drug your doctor prescribes to prevent blood clots. Commonly used medications are Coumadin, Lovenox, Arixtra, Eliquis,® Xarelto and aspirin. You will be directed to stay on one of them for a period of time after surgery. Depending on the medication, you will need to have your blood tested to monitor the effect of the drug and to regulate the dosage. Once discharged home, arrangements will be made to continue monitoring your blood.

How often will I receive physical and occupational therapy in the hospital?

After your initial evaluation, you will receive therapy once or twice a day. Your therapist will be instructed by the surgeon as to what therapy you need. The goal is to keep you out of bed and active.

Where do I get the equipment I need

We encourage you to borrow or purchase equipment before your surgery, so you can make sure it is appropriate for you in your home environment. A list of recommended items is on the before surgery page. There are many local pharmacies and medical supply companies that carry equipment for you to physically choose from. Many patients purchase them online. If you do purchase equipment, you may be able to submit receipts to your insurance company for some reimbursement, depending on your insurance coverage. Insurance companies often cover only one device, the walker being the most common. You may bring in your own or borrowed walker (if you have one) to ensure a proper fit.

Will I be able to use stairs at home?

Your physical therapist will make sure you can successfully navigate stairs prior to your discharge home. You will find that your endurance will improve once you are home, but it would be beneficial to have someone available to assist you in the first days after discharge.

What if I have an issue while I am in the hospital?

Please do not wait until after you are discharged to voice any concerns that you may have. Members of the nursing administration, as well as our volunteers, make daily rounds. Your suggestions are very important to us. We want your stay to be a superior patient experience.

Who will I see in the hospital after my surgery?

You will be cared for by an entire team of professionals under the direction of your orthopaedic surgeon. After surgery you may be seen by the surgeon, orthopaedic resident, nurse practitioner and/or physician assistant to monitor your progress and assure the best possible recovery from your surgery.