Your Experience With Joint Surgery/Replacements?

I’m writing a book about preparing for and recovering from joint surgeries on knees, hips, shoulders, ankles, feet. It will be a nitty gritty guide, patient to patient, with tips and hints for getting the best outcome from these surgeries.

Am especially interested in hearing about your knee and hip replacements.

Please write back with any experiences or opinions about such surgeries:

Here are some things to write about:

What difference did the surgery make in your life?

What made you decide to do it?

Would you do it again? Did you know what you were getting into? What, if any, were the surprises?

Did you have good pain control? What meds were used?

What, if anything, did you find hard about recovery? Was any equipment useful? Walkers, leg lifters, etc. What were the biggest problems?

What advice would you have for others?

Did anything really help in recovery? The kind of help you had? Friends and family? Physical therapists? How did you handle daily living? Food, getting around?

Did you feel you got good discharge instructions from the hospital?

Did you go to a rehab/nursing facility after the hospital? If yes, what was your opinion?

Did your family come in to help? Was there conflict about what to do, how to do it, etc?

How did you handle any frustration, depression during recovery? What got you through the post-op nights?

What are your observations about family and friends who have had joint surgeries?

Really, I am interested in anything you have to say. I will not use names if I use your quotes in the book. If I think your remarks still identify you, your family, your hospital or doctor, I will change your location and leave out those names, but I don’t change your opinions or experience! Don’t worry about grammar, lovely writing, doing it just so…just write.

I very much appreciate anything you care to send about the experience. If you want to forward this to anyone who has had joint surgery, please do so. Love to hear from them too.

Send privately to me at, or leave a public reply below. Thanks. Mel

This entry was posted in Health, joint surgeries, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Your Experience With Joint Surgery/Replacements?

  1. Kathy Greenwood says:

    Dear Mel…. first; I miss you here in Grass Valley/Nevada City AND hope you are doing well and are happy. Second: I am having both hips replace approx 3 months apart but won’t have the first side done until later this year, probably Oct. or Nov. Will that be too late to write about my experiences?

    • Mel Walsh says:

      Kathy, I miss writing that weekly column, but now am living in Carmel and writing this book. Fall will not be too late for your comments and let me post here a section from the book about questions to ask the doctor before your operation. I hope this will be helpful to you and good luck with your surgery. I love my hip replacements!
      A bit from the book:

      Here are some basic things to ask a surgeon in the face of any possible operation:
      Why does the doctor think you need surgery? Are there any alternatives or sensible ways to put it off for a while? What exact kind of surgery is recommended? How many of these does he or she do in a year? If a replacement device is used, what kind of device is it? Has it been on the market long?

      What are the risks? What the benefits and how long are they likely to last? What percentage of patients is satisfied with this operation? Will the surgery need to be repeated or revised in the future? Will you really be out of pain? What will happen if you don’t have surgery or put it off?

      Also, ask how much the surgery and hospitalization will cost. What will insurance or Medicare cover? What are likely out-of-pocket costs? Is there any equipment you need to get? Anything you need to read? How long will you need help at home and will it be 24-hour or daytime only?

      Last, ask about the long term recovery times, how you can get a temporary handicapped sticker, when you could get back to your ordinary life, when the follow-up doctor visits are and when you can drive or use public transport. You don’t want to be blind-sided in your life planning.

      It seems a lot to ask in one session, but it can be done if you don’t wander. The doc should have every answer in his head already. Not as if you are the first to ask.

  2. Kathy Greenwood says:

    You have two?!! Can’t wait to hear about your experiences! Is there anything you cannot do now that you did before your hip problems? We’re hikers, kayakers, I’m a down in the dirt on my hands and knees gardener, would like to ride a horse again, etc. We’re also skiers but realize that is not a good idea.

    I am bone against bone because of genetically poor cartilage (I have good cartilage in my knees and ankles but he said I must have stepped out of line when hip cartilage was handed out) and am having difficulty with my normal everyday life. Too many years of running/triathlon has taken its toll. I’m only 69 but I want to live life to the fullest and this is definitely slowing me down. `

    All good questions you’ve suggested and I do have answers to most of them. (My doctor is the top dog at UC Davis. He did my husband’s hip in March.) Another question you might suggest is asking what method does the doctor use; anterior or posterior, and research both for themselves. My doctor does posterior because of higher risk of broken femur and infection during surgery with the anterior entry, although it does have about a two week faster recovery, and he’s an expert at it posterior. There’s definitely two schools of thought on the matter.

    So happy to hear you love your hip replacements!!

  3. Teresa J White says:

    1st hip done in 2002. No problems. Delay re 2nd hip in 2003, bed sores, arthritic drugs which killed appetite. Delay meant loss of muscle condition. Foot (toes) not kept upright by pillows, etc. at night. Result right foot turns out a bit. Hospital surprised I wanted a year later check-up.

    MRSA infection both times. At 2nd time, left knee had to be washed out. Warned never to let a surgeon touch it!

    A ‘walker’ for a week or so then Canadian crutches much more useful than canes. Raised seat on toilet essential. Continued to use crutches outdoors.


    Teresa, CSA

  4. John Hsia says:

    I’ve had both my hips replaced, the first more than 10 years ago, and the second two years ago. Both were “a piece of cake” — well almost. Due to advances in pain relief, I think it was local anesthetic at the site at the end of the procedure, I didn’t need any morphine, and literally felt no post-operative pain. Moving on crutches the first day after. My advice, based on my experience, is to do it as soon as the x-rays show the need. Ones body tries to compensate for the pain, throwing muscles off kilter and also makes some muscles atrophy which prolongs the rehab period.

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