Hip and knee pain can heavily limit your ability to engage in day to day activities, affecting your quality of life. Because of this, hip and knee replacement operations have become a rather common solution. But before surgery is considered, non-surgical solutions such as exercises and weight loss plans, braces, medications and injections are often recommended. Then as a last resort, partial or total hip and knee replacement surgery is used to correct the condition.
When you plan to go for hip and knee replacement surgery, you must never allow yourself to go under anesthesia with any unanswered questions. Unresolved concerns or questions will make you anxious, scared and less psychologically prepared for the operation. Therefore, even before you make your mind to go for hip and knee replacement surgery, you should raise all your concerns with your doctor and have all your questions answered. Indeed, asking the right questions should be your top priority because it will ensure you make the right decision and go for the operation when you are mentally prepared for it.
So what questions should you ask your surgeon before undergoing hip and knee replacement surgery?
a. Questions for exploring your options
Before settling for the surgery, you should find out if it is the best option for your condition and whether there are other treatments that you should consider. Ask the following questions:
(i) Is hip and knee replacement the best option for me right now?
(ii) Are there any treatment options I should consider?
(iii) How effective is this surgery for a patient of my age and with the other medical conditions I have? Will the procedure really boost the quality of my life?
(iv) What will my life be like if a refuse to go for the operation?
(v) How long can I take before I go for the operation?
(vi) Will I be able to walk painlessly after the operation? How far?
(vii) Will I manage to perform routine activities? How about things like tennis, swimming, golfing, or hiking? When will I be able to start them after surgery?
b. Questions about the actual procedure
It is also important to ask questions about the actual procedure, in order to know exactly what you will go through. Ask the following questions:
(i) Where will you make the incision? How big will the incision be?
(ii) What surgical technique will you apply? How will you plan for the operation?
(iii) Will you use a minimal-invasion method? Will you apply a computer-assisted technique?
(iv) How long does it take to complete the whole procedure?
(v) Which kind of anesthesia will you use? Are there options that I should consider?
(vi) Will I experience massive pain after surgery? What will you do to relieve the pain?
(vii) Will there be physical therapy in the hospital?
(viii) Which other treatment or therapy will be offered in the hospital?
(ix) How long will I need to stay in the hospital?
(x) How soon will I get up and move around after the surgery?
(xi) Will I be able to walk to the bathroom after the procedure, or will I need to use a catheter?
(xii) Will it be possible for me to walk straight home after I leave hospital, or will I need to move somewhere else for proper recovery?
c. Questions about risks and complications of hip and knee replacement surgery
Before opting for the procedure, you also need to find out the types of risks and complications you should expect. Ask the following questions:
(i) What complications and risks are associated with this procedure?
(ii) What can I do prior to the operation to reduce the risks and complications?
(iii) Are there risks associated with the type of anesthesia used?
(iv) What is the infection rate? (0.5% or lower infection rate is considered good).
d. Questions about how to prepare before the procedure
You need to know how to prepare for the operation in order to boost chances of success. Here are the right questions you should ask:
(i) What can I do to improve the chances of success of the operation?
(ii) Do I need to exercise or lose weight before the procedure?
(iii) Should I start learning how to use crutches before the procedure?
(iv) Where can I find help with quitting alcohol or cigarettes, if I want to?
(v) How can I improve my home and make it ideal for life after the operation?
(vi) Will I need a hospital bed? What sort of supplies will be necessary in my home before and after surgery?
(vii) Will blood transfusion be necessary before or after the procedure? Is it possible to save my blood prior to surgery for use during the procedure?
(viii) Which minerals, vitamins, herbs, drugs and supplements should I use or not use before the procedure?
(ix) When should I come to the hospital? What should I bring?
e. Questions about recovery after surgery
Full recovery will take some time after hip and knee replacement surgery. In fact, it usually takes longer than almost all other types of operations. Hence, you need to find out the recovery time and other related issues from your doctor. Ask the following questions:
(i) How long will it take to recover? What does it entail?
(ii) What degree of pain will I experience after surgery? How long will it last? How should I manage it? What will it be like when I go home and begin rehabilitation?
(iii) What movement limitations will I have after the surgery and how long will they take?
(iv) When will I be able to resume normal activities? Which activities will I need to avoid?
(v) How will my knee and hip function 6 months after the procedure? What of after 1 year?
(vi) Will there be follow-up appointments? When will the first appointment be scheduled? How regular will the follow-up appointments be after the first one?
While hip and knee replacement surgery can improve your life, asking your doctor the right questions will ensure you are prepared for the procedure. Asking questions will not only help you to know what will happen throughout the procedure, but will also make you psychologically prepared for the operation. Never hesitate to ask questions. Also, make sure you get the thorough answers.