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Questions to ask about arthritis surgery

Before you have surgery, you may want to ask your doctor a few questions about the procedure.

If you need to have surgery to treat or replace a joint that is damaged by arthritis, chances are you'll have lots of questions for your doctor.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and other experts, a few questions you may want to ask include:

  • Are there any other treatments I should try before surgery?
  • What are the benefits I can expect in terms of pain relief and mobility?
  • What are the risks? What will happen if I don't have the surgery now?
  • What will the operation involve and how long will it last?
  • Can the surgery be done on an outpatient basis or will it require a hospital stay?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used, and what risks are associated with it?
  • What kind of pain is normal to expect and how long will it likely last? Will I receive medication for the pain?
  • What is your experience doing this type of operation?
  • Should I stop taking any of my medications before surgery?
  • Do you recommend an exercise program before and after the surgery?
  • What limits might I have while I recover? For example, will my ability to drive, eat, use the toilet or climb stairs be affected?
  • Will I need to make any modifications to my home—or purchase any special equipment—to help with my daily activities after surgery?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • What are the chances that I will need additional surgery?
If you have any other questions, be sure to bring them up with your doctor. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared.

Reviewed 3/14/2023

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