The Surgical Process
I have already had some X-rays. Do I need more?
Digital imaging is amazing. It allows us to look back in time and compare your older imaging to new state-of-the-art scans. This gives us the ability to better understand your joint structures and identify opportunities to help the joint. So yes, we will usually organise some up-to-date scans for you prior to your consultation with the surgeon.
Do I need a GP referral?
Medicare rules govern the need for a GP referral to access Medicare funds. We strongly recommend a GP referral as not only will you receive a Medicare rebate, but it also allows us to form a team around you.
How long will my joint replacement last?
Australia is lucky to have a world class registry of joint replacements that you automatically join when you receive your new joint. As a rough rule of thumb, there is a 1-2% revision rate per year for the first 20 years. This means 60-80% of people can expect 20 years of survivorship.
When will the hospital contact me about my surgery booking?
Although your surgical booking is made by The Joint Studio team, the scheduled time of surgery and arrival time is organised by the hospital. Hospital preadmission staff will call you the day prior to your surgery confirming your admission time.
How long do I stay in hospital following my joint replacement?
We aim to individualise advice when we see you. Most hips stay 1-3 days, most partial knees stay 2-4 days and most total knees stay 3-5 days as a rough guide.
When will I see my Anaesthetist?
We use a physician to assess your medical concerns and provide a comprehensive overview to your surgeon, your GP, and your Anaesthetist. This saves you an in person consultation with your Anaesthetist who will call you 1-3 days prior to your surgery.
The Recovery Period
Why am I so bruised?
Unfortunately bruising is one of the most common issues after surgery. We use a combination of blood thinners after joint replacement surgery which can make for some dramatic bruises. Some people bruise easily and so significantly that the entire leg may appear black and blue. This is usually worst at 5-7 days but be reassured it will settle. Your body will completely resorb the bruises by 2-3 weeks. Just like the elite athletes we recommend the use of ice, compression and relative rest to control the bruising.
Why is my leg swollen?
Swelling after surgery is due to a lot of factors. Your lymphatic and venous drainage system can be impaired during the first few weeks, even causing impressive swollen ankles. Gentle elevation, ice therapy, moderating your exercise and even gentle massage will help significantly. Rest assured it will settle but, in some patients, it can persist for up to 9 months. This is normal.
I’m worried I have an infection, what do I do?
Please contact us or your GP as soon as possible if you have increasing redness, heat, pain and swelling or any signs of pus around your joint. It’s common to have reactions to either the dressing or the medical glue and sometimes patients have a suture granuloma. It’s important we know either way.
When do I get my stitches removed?
You will be glad to know we usually use internal sutures and medical glue for the skin meaning there are no sutures or staples to be removed.
If you live in the metro area, we run a complementary dressing clinic around the 2-week mark to review your wound. We can help organise this appointment for you. It’s important you try and keep the dressing intact and look after your wound as the dressing has anti-microbial properties.
If you are from the country or would prefer to see your GP, an appointment should be made around 2-weeks to remove your waterproof dressing.
A follow-up appointment with your treating surgeon will be scheduled around 4 – 6 weeks after the operation.
Why does my new joint replacement click?
It is common and normal to have swelling and fluid separate your new joint surfaces. This causes a “click” when the hard metal and plastic surfaces come back in contact with each other and typically settles when the swelling has reduced, and your muscles have tightened around the joint. Although an odd feeling, it is common and usually settles. Importantly it isn’t dangerous.
When should I see my physio after surgery?
It is important to continue your rehabilitation after you leave hospital, with your home exercise program outlined by the hospital physiotherapists. We recommend you touch base with your local Physiotherapist or one from our network of skilled Physiotherapists around the 2-week mark after surgery. Hydrotherapy must NOT be commenced until you receive medical clearance at your 2-week wound review.
How long before I can drive?
The medico-legal advice is 4 weeks, but we will assess your individual case depending on your recovery rate.
For any other questions, please contact The Joint Studio on (08) 9386 3933