If there are no problems during your recovery, you will probably be given an appointment to see your surgeon again between six and 12 weeks after discharge from the hospital.
IMPORTANT It’s a good idea to have someone – a family member or friend – come with you to this visit to listen and take notes. If you have questions, write them down and bring them with you.
Not all surgeons do the same things during the post-operative visit, but here’s what you can expect:
- The doctor will ask how you’re feeling and if you are having any special problems with your rehabilitation or your daily activities. Be honest! This is the time to speak up if you have any concerns or questions.
- He or she will probably examine your incision to see how well it has healed and observe how well you move.
- During this visit, your doctor may review any current prescriptions for pain medication or blood-thinners (anti-coagulants) and tell you when you can stop taking them.
- The surgeon may also remind you about precautions against developing an infection around your new joint. Such precautions must be followed for at least two years and possibly longer. Before you have any dental work – even routine cleaning – you will need to take an antibiotic. If you have some other surgical procedure or a test that involves inserting instruments into your body, tell the specialist doctor about your joint replacement operation. It may be necessary for you to take antibiotics before such procedures are done.
About having a metal implant
Your new knee or hip joint contains metal, so it will probably set off metal detection devices at airports or some government buildings.
In the past, some hospitals gave patients a special card explaining the presence of an implant and stating the date of their surgery. Others provided a letter of explanation to be shown to security staff. Discuss this with your surgeon.