Frequent QuestionsIn this section you will find the most frequently asked questions our patients have had regarding the medical services we offer. Some questions have information documents that you can download. If you don't find the answer you are looking for or have any other questions, please contact us through our Contact Section.
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1What is a hip replacement?
Hip replacement is a surgical intervention that substitutes the diseased and painful femoral head with an artificial implant that combines biological grade metals, ceramics and plastic components with the sole purpose to alleviate pain. Patients can go back to their daily life with full function and no pain after a short recovery period.
2What is a knee replacement?
A knee replacement is a surgical intervention that substitutes the diseased, deformed and painful knee joint with an artificial implant that combines biological grade metals, and plastic components. Patients can go back to their daily life with full function and no pain after a short recovery period.
3How do I know if I need a hip or knee replacement surgery?
Your orthopaedic surgeon will perform a thorough clinical examination and evaluate x- rays and special tests. After reaching a precise diagnosis he/she will determine if you are a candidate for this surgical procedure. As a rule of thumb, when hip or knee pain no longer responds to conservative treatment and it progressively limits daily living activities and diminishes quality of life, it is time to start thinking about a joint replacement surgery.
4What kind of anaesthesia will I receive and how postoperative pain will be managed?
The preferred method used by anesthesiologists during a hip or knee replacement surgery is an Epidural using a small catheter inserted into the lower back accompanied by intravenous sedatives. Patients feel no pain at all during surgery. After surgery, the epidural catheter is often left in place for 24 to 48 hours. Small doses of anesthetic will be administered to control pain. Strong intravenous pain killers are also used so most patients experience only mild discomfort.
5¿How long does the replacement surgery take and how will my scar look?
Hip and/or knee replacement surgery usually takes around 90 minutes. Hip replacement is usually performed through a 10cm (3 inch) incision at the side of the thigh; knee replacement is usually performed through a 15cm (4 inch) incision at the front of the knee cap. Stitches or staples are removed after 14 days.
6What materials are hip and knee replacement implats made of?
Many different kinds of materials are used in the fabrication of hip and knee prosthesis. Usually the materials are very resistant and host friendly. Just to mention a few: medical grade metal alloys, titanium, polyethylenes, ceramics, bone cement, etc. These are called bio-materials and are characterized by their strength, resistance to wear and experience little host rejection.
7Will I be needing physiotherapy after surgery?
Your orthopaedic surgeon and physiotherapist will help you with hip and knee mobilization after surgery, during your hospital stay and on the second day after surgery they will teach you how to sit, stand and walk by yourself with the help of a metal walker. They will recommend a series of simple exercises that you will be doing at home. This is usually enough to guarantee a fast recovery, but there are some patients that might need a program of some further ambulatory rehabilitation.
8¿How and when will I return to my daily activities after hip or knee replacement surgery?
Recovery time after these kind of surgeries is usually progressive and relatively quick. You will start walking with full weight bearing the second day after surgery with the help of a metallic walker. After the second week you will be started on the use of a walking cane and you will be able to climb up and down the stairs. Approximately at 8 weeks you are going to be able to drive, discontinue the use of the cane and go back to work. After 3 months you will be encouraged to practice low-impact sports.
9Is hip and knee replacement surgery risky?
All surgical interventions involve risks, and hip and knee replacement is considered major surgery that is not free of complications. Nowadays with the continuing advancement of medical sciences and technology, the risk percentage of hip and knee replacement surgery in expert hands is less than 2%. This must be perfectly understood by patients and family before surgery. Complications seen in this type of surgery include infection, dislocation, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, etc.
10What special care will I need after hip and knee replacement surgery?
Even though all cases are different, the general special needs are as followed: