Dixie Regional Medical Center

(435) 251-1000Map1380 East Medical Center DriveSt. George, UT 84790
Knee X-ray
  • Common Joint Replacement Questions

    Here's a helpful round-up of the questions asked most often by people considering joint replacement surgery.

    How long will I be in the hospital?
    Our average length of stay for total knee replacement patients is 2.7 days and for hip replacement patients it is 2.5 days. Both are faster than the national average. The difference is due to our Joint Center team, which specializes in getting you back on your feet the day you have surgery — a key to getting back to normal life. Research shows that the longer joint replacement patients stay in bed, the longer it takes to return to regular life.
    What will I need when I go home?
    Before you are discharged our experienced case managers and social workers will work with your physician to ensure you have the services and specialized home medical equipment that you will need to be successful once you leave the hospital. Your individualized discharge plan will be based on your medical needs and insurance requirements.
    Will I need to go to rehab after my joint replacement?
    The majority of our joint replacement patients (85.7 percent) go directly home after just a couple days of inpatient care. Extended stay facilities are available. It’s up to you and your doctor to determine whether you should go home or to a rehabilitation facility. Our discharge team of nurses and social workers will work with you to coordinate your discharge plans.
    Will I need someone to stay at home with me? Should I stay in someone else's home?
    Most of our patients will be discharged to their homes under the assistance of family members. A home health agency can be made available to assist if needed. You should have some kind of support system to help with day-to-day activities until you are back to being independent. We have physical and occupational therapists who can help you reach independence quickly, but having extra help is always a good idea.
    When can I shower?
    Our surgeons usually tell their patients to keep their incision dry for two to three days after surgery. After that time, patients may take a brief shower but still should not submerge the new hip or knee. Usually we ask you to wait six weeks to submerge the area or until the wound is completely closed. Please ask your doctor for specific recommendations. 
    Should I bring my medications from home?
    No, we will provide you with all the medication and education that you will need. Someone from our surgical team will contact you before surgery and discuss your medication schedule for the day before surgery. Once you're admitted to the hospital our trained pharmacy staff will analyse all your home medications and provide you with those while in the hospital. Once discharged we will ensure you get all the appropriate prescriptions and proper education for those new medications. 
    How will I go to the bathroom?
    The majority of our joint replacement patients don't require a catheter. Most patients will be up and walking the very same day of surgery, and will be able to get to the bathroom with assistance. If you feel like you need a catheter, please discuss this with your surgeon before your scheduled surgery date.
    Can my family stay with me in the hospital?
    Family members are more than welcome here at Dixie Regional and can even spend the night with you. We offer unique amenities for family members acting as the “Coach,” including a couch in the patient room that folds down into a bed, meals in the dining room with you, and access to physical therapy sessions. Our staff will include your family members in all aspects of your care, including decision-making.

A healthy knee joint has a smooth lining of cartilage — a cushioning surface that helps the joint absorb the stresses of normal daily activities. This surface also allows the bones of the joint to glide without friction or pain.

Over the years, our knees experience stresses and strains that are a normal part of daily life. Arthritis, injury and disease can wear down the cartilage and allow the femur (thigh bone) to rub against the tibia (lower leg bone) and cause pain.

This is common as people enter their 60s and 70s. But it can also occur at a younger age, depending on an individual’s weight, activity level, and anatomy. Arthritis can also be caused by infections, traumatic injury, and inflammatory disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Knee pain can be treated with medication, injections, physical therapy, and surgery. For many patients, though, knee replacement surgery is the best option. A qualified physician can help determine the best course of treatment.

Knee Replacement Surgery

During surgery, the joint surfaces are removed and replaced with artificial components. This restores a smooth surface in the knee. Studies show that knee-replacement surgery is very effective in treating pain and returning people to the activities they love. In fact, 95 percent of patients say their pain is dramatically reduced, allowing them to resume a normal life.

Some options available for knee-replacement surgery patients:

Partial Knee Replacement

This surgery — sometimes called a “uni,” short for unicompartmental knee arthroplasty — replaces just one compartment of the knee, either the inside or outside compartment, with a prosthesis.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

This approach utilizes a smaller incision and aims to minimize trauma to muscles and other soft tissues. Benefits may include less discomfort and blood loss, shorter hospitalization and rehabilitation, and a quicker return to work.

Gender Knee

Some of our surgeons offer a “gender-specific” knee for women who may benefit from a smaller joint. Each patient can rest assured that their surgeon will choose the joint that best fits with their unique body size and alignment.

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