Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Joint Replacement Surgery
The discussion you have with your doctor about joint replacement surgery begins with many questions and ends with a better understanding of what to expect. The more you know, the better prepared you will feel should joint replacement surgery become the treatment of choice for your individual condition.
What is the name of my condition?
What is the cause of my condition?
Do I need additional lab work or other diagnostic tests?
How can my condition be improved?
If the doctor recommends surgery:
- Why do I need surgery?
- Why are you recommending this particular procedure?
- How is this procedure done?
- Are there alternatives to this surgery?
- What are the benefits of this procedure? How long will the benefits last?
- Do I need to have surgery immediately? What would happen if I wait six months or more?
- What are the risks involved in this surgery? How likely are they?
- Approximately how many of these types of surgeries are done each year? How many of these surgeries do you do each year?
- Is this surgery typically covered by health insurance?
- Can someone in your office help me with contacting my insurance carrier?
- Do you provide printed information on joint replacement surgery?
Questions Before Your Surgery/Hospital Stay
- Will I need to modify my lifestyle in any way before surgery - stop smoking, get more or less exercise, lose weight, etc.?
- Do you recommend physical therapy before surgery?
- Will I need antibiotics for dental care?
- Where will the surgery be done?
- How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I have to be off work?
- Will I need full-time care? Part-time care? How long?
- Will I need special equipment at home?
- What type of implant will be used? What is it made of and what is the track record for this type of implant?
- Will I need anesthesia? What kind? Can I stay awake during the surgery?
Questions After Your Surgery is Complete
- What kind of complications can arise after surgery?
- Will I need physical therapy after surgery? When will I begin physical therapy?
- How soon will I be able to resume my normal activities (driving, work, sports, housework)?
- Will I set off the metal detectors at airports?
Not all of your questions may be answered at the time of your initial visit with your doctor. Additional visitations are sometimes needed to answer further questions. Eisenhower Joint Replacement Center offers pre-operative classes to cover this information in more detail.