Questions for Doctor: Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery

Medically Reviewed by Michael Roach, MD on August 15, 2022

If you are thinking about hip or knee replacement surgery, here are some important questions to ask your doctor.

I have symptoms, and I think I might need a knee or hip replacement.

  1. Could my symptoms be a sign of osteoarthritis?
  2. What are the steps to get tested to see if I need a knee or hip replacement?
  3. What treatments should I try before getting a joint replacement?
  4. My pain is getting worse. What pain medicine can I take?
  5. What else can I do to ease my symptoms?

My doctor and I have discussed joint replacement, and this is a follow-up visit.

  1. Even though I take medicine, I’m still in pain. Can I safely increase my dose, or should I try a different pain medicine?
  2. What should I do to get ready for surgery?
  3. Should I try to lose weight?
  4. Can the surgery be done robotically?
  5. Would complementary approaches like massage or acupuncture help?
  6. What should I expect after joint replacement surgery?

I am planning on knee or hip replacement, but I’m sick or having problems.

  1. Could my symptoms mean my joint damage is getting worse?
  2. My pain limits what I can do every day. Do I need a different pain reliever?
  3. Will surgery relieve all my pain?
  4. How long after surgery till I can get back to my normal activities?
  5. Is there anything I can do before surgery to speed my recovery?

Deciding whether to have surgery:

  1. Are there any nonsurgical treatments I can try first? Medicines? Injections? Physical therapy? Crutches or assistive devices?
  2. What can I expect if I choose not to have surgery?
  3. What is the implant made of?
  4. Will my implant set off metal detectors?
  5. How much better can I expect surgery will make me feel? How active will I be able to be?
  6. What problems could I have after surgery?
  7. How many of these surgeries have you done?

Getting ready to have your knee or hip replacement surgery:

  1. How should I prepare my home for after surgery? How much help will I need and for how long?
  2. Do I need to change or stop any of my medications before surgery?
  3. How long do you think my surgery will last?
  4. How many days will I be in the hospital? What will my pain be like? What kind of pain medicine will I get in the hospital and at home?
  5. How long can I expect recovery to take?
  6. How long before I can climb stairs?
  7. How long before I can drive?
  8. What kind of physical therapy will I have to do? Will this be at home or in a facility?
  9. Is there anything I won't be able to do after surgery?
  10. How long should my new joint last?


Show Sources


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Total Joint Replacement: Questions Patients Should Ask Their Surgeon."

Claudette Lajam, MD, orthopedic surgeon, NYU Langone Medical Center; assistant professor of orthopedics, Hospital for Joint Diseases-New York University School of Medicine.

David Lewallen, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Mayo Clinic; professor of orthopedics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

Charles Nelson, MD, chief of joint replacement, Penn Orthopaedics; associate professor of orthopedic surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Common Questions about Total Hip Replacement."

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info