Frequently Asked Questions

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What is total joint replacement?
Joint replacement is surgery to replace worn components on a major joint in the body. It is done using an artificial joint made of metal, ceramic and plastic. Total joint replacement can effectively recreate the function of the joint. Visit our total hip replacement webpage to find out more information.

What is anterior approach to hip replacement?
The anterior approach, also known as minimally invasive hip replacement, is a method of approaching the hip joint through the front of the thigh. This requires no cutting of muscles and involves a much smaller incision than other approaches. It results in reduced pain and shortened recovery times. Please visit our anterior hip replacement Washington D.C. webpage to find out detailed information.

Is joint replacement surgery safe?
As a very common medical procedure, joint replacement is extremely safe. On an annual basis, almost 150,000 patients undergo hip replacement surgery, and almost 250,000 patients undergo knee replacement surgery, all with successful results. Any risks will be thoroughly reviewed with Dr. Goyal prior to surgery.

How long will a replacement joint last?
A hip or knee implant typically lasts between 10 and 15 years. It may be shorter or longer depending upon the activity habits of the patient.

What are the major risks of joint replacement surgery?
While most joint replacement surgeries are performed without incident, there is a very minor risk (less than 1%) of infection and blood clotting. These are avoided with antibiotics and blood thinners. Feel free to discuss these risks with Dr. Goyal who will address any concerns you may have.

Is there an age limit for joint replacement surgery?
Joint replacement surgery has no age limit. It simply requires that you be in good health to undergo surgery.

Which tests will I need before surgery?
Prior to surgery, you will need routine blood work and urinalysis within 2 weeks of surgery. Additionally, Dr. Goyal will perform a physical examination within one month prior to surgery. Patients with a cardiac or respiratory history must undergo further tests, including an EKG and chest x-ray.

Should I start or stop any medications?
This is a matter to be discussed with Dr. Goyal. As a general statement, most medications and vitamins can be taken right up until the day of surgery. If you are currently on heart or blood pressure medication, Dr. Goyal may request you take these with a sip or water on the day of surgery. Medications that should not be taken for two weeks prior to surgery include Plavix, blood thinners and anti-inflammatory medications.

What are my options for anesthesia?
In most cases, patients receive general anesthetic for joint replacement surgery. In some cases, patients may prefer an epidural anesthetic, which simply numbs the legs while the patient remains awake. These options can we weighed with Dr. Goyal prior to surgery.

How long will the surgery take?
Joint replacement surgery can take anywhere from one to three hours. This depends on the level of complexity in the surgery.

Will I be in much pain after surgery?
Dr. Goyal is an expert in pain management while not going overboard on pain meds. Most patients experience mild discomfort during the first days following surgery, but it is nothing compared to the pain involved in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and avascular necrosis. Most pain will dissolve completely within the first two weeks following surgery.

How long will I be in the hospital?
Following joint replacement, patients are typically in the hospital for several days following surgery. However, this tends to be generous when discussing the results of Dr. Goyal. He is proud to provide results that allow most patients to return home the day of their surgery. The complexity of the surgery and the exact issue being addressed are factors that contribute to the length of your hospital stay.

Will I need someone to stay full time with me when I go home?
It is ideal to have a friend or family member stay with you for the first several days after you get home. If this is not an option, it is wise to ensure that someone checks on you daily to help with anything you may need.

Will I need pain medicine after I'm discharged?
While most patients can benefit from a short program of pain medication, Dr. Goyal prefers a conservative approach to pain management. Discuss your expectations with him before surgery so that a proper judgment can be made.

How long will I need to use my walker or crutches?
Certain patients will require the use of a walking aid following surgery. This is often needed for only several weeks before patients can walk independently. This matter can be discussed with Dr. Goyal. Additionally, your physical therapist will prescribe a program for full recovery.

When can I go up and down stairs?
Most patients can ascend and descend stairs before leaving the hospital within days of surgery.

When can I drive?
For safety purposes, patients must wait several weeks before driving a car. However, many patients can return to driving before that depending upon their recovery. It also depends on which hip or knee was replaced. It is important that you wait until Dr. Goyal’s approval before you drive.

When can I return to work?
While most patients wait six weeks before returning to work, it can be significantly sooner. It all depends on the rate of recovery and the nature of your job. You and Dr. Goyal will map out a plan to get you back to work as soon as possible.

How often will I need to see my surgeon?
Follow-up appointments vary from surgeon to surgeon. Dr. Goyal prefers that you see him within three weeks of your surgery, with additional appointments at six weeks, twelve weeks and annually.

When can I resume sports activities?
Most patients can return to mild sports activities within several weeks after surgery. Rehabilitation plays a major role in this, and your physical therapy regimen must be maintained. Restrictions will vary depending upon the exact type of surgery.

When will I be able to engage in sexual activities after surgery?
Patients are able to resume sexual activity when it feels comfortable. In general, they are only restricted by position limitations posed by their physical therapist.

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