You should never make the decision to proceed with any medical procedure lightly, and the decision to proceed with knee replacement surgery is no different. There are over 700,000 total knee replacement surgeries performed in the U.S. every year. Even though it is such a common procedure, every surgery carries certain risks. If you or a loved one will be having knee replacement surgery, you probably have many questions and concerns. Be certain to address these concerns with your physician before the procedure is scheduled. Remember, you are not just asking questions to get information, you are evaluating your physician’s personality and customer service skills.
Have a Conversation
If your doctor has recommended a total or partial knee replacement, choosing a great surgeon will make a big difference in your recovery. One of the best ways to evaluate a surgeon is to begin with a simple conversation. You can get the conversation started with this list of five essential questions to ask your knee replacement surgeon:
1. How many knee replacements have you performed in the last 24 months? What was the typical outcome?
All medical cases are unique, and your recovery will depend on a large number of different factors. Even so, if the surgeon will not clearly answer this question, it is a warning sign.
2. What potential complications should I be aware of?
No matter how routine a surgical procedure is, complications are always a possibility. Any surgeon who tells you otherwise is not being truthful. Be sure that you understand and are willing to accept the risks before proceeding.
3. Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long?
In some cases, a knee replacement procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis. However, the typical hospital stay is three to four days for a single knees and five to seven days if both knees are replaced.
4. What therapies will I need after surgery?
Rehabilitative physical therapy is a major factor in your recovery. A four- to six-week regimen of physical therapy is typical after a knee replacement.
5. Is surgery my only option?
Perhaps you would prefer to avoid surgery. Depending on your specific situation, there may be nonsurgical alternative treatments available. If speaking with a surgeon, he or she will likely recommend surgery, but they should also be able to advise you on nonsurgical alternatives.
If you are considering a knee replacement, finding the right surgeon is crucial. Finding that surgeon may well start with a simple conversation. Refer to these essential questions to ask your knee replacement surgeon when you have this conversation. If you would like to learn more about knee surgery and finding the right surgeon, download our free e-book, 360 Degrees of Knee Replacement Surgery.