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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What happens during my surgery?

After all of your pre-op preparations are completed, your actual surgery can last anywhere from one to three hours: You may receive general or regional anesthesia. Some patients prefer a regional anesthetic, which numbs the legs and does not require you to be asleep. The decision as to what is best for you us decided between you, your surgeon, and the anesthesiologist. Regardless to anesthetic choice, you will not be awake during your surgery.

Will my surgery be painful?
You may have varying levels of discomfort following surgery, but we keep you comfortable with appropriate medication. Most patients will receive oral pain medication, with some additional IV medication for “breakthrough” pain.

How long and where will my scar(s) be?

Your scar(s) – location and length – will vary depending on the type of surgery you require. Your Surgeon will discuss which type of approach is best for you. You may experience some numbness around the scar after it is healed; this is normal and will disappear over time.

Will I need a walker, crutches, or a cane?

You will progress at your own rate. We recommend you use a walker, crutches, or a cane for four to six weeks. Your Physical therapist will arrange for equipment as needed.

Where will I go after discharge from the hospital?

Most patients are able to go home directly after discharge. You may require a short stay in a sub-acute rehabilitation facility. Your Longfellow Care Team will help with this decision and make necessary arrangements. Check with your insurance company to see if you have sub-acute rehab benefits.

Hip Replacement

Why does my hip hurt? It could be osteoarthritis!

Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis - a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage, the tough, smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones at the joint. It cushions the bones during regular movement, and because it is smooth and slippery, it promotes motion with minimal friction. Through trauma, repetitive movement, or simply due to aging, cartilage wears down, exposing the bone ends eventually resulting in painful bone-on-bone contact, swelling, and possibly, loss of motion.

What is total hip replacement?


hip illustrationTotal hip replacement is somewhat misleading: actually, an implant is used to recap the worn ends of the bone, so the hip is not actually replaced, but the head of your femur is removed, a metal stem is inserted into the shaft and topped with a metal or ceramic ball. The damaged socket is smoothed and lined with a metal cup and filled with plastic, metal or a ceramic liner, which will eliminate the bone on bone friction and thus eliminate pain and stiffness.

How long will my new joint last?

Most implants last 20 years; however, some may wear out and loosen over time.  To minimize risk, keep your weight in normal range, muscles strong and flexible and avoid high impact activities. 

What are the major risks?

Most surgeries go smoothly without complications; however, infection and blood clots are two possible side effects; to avoid them, your Surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and blood thinners.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Your goal at the Center is to be discharged one to three days after surgery. Mobility generally begins the day of surgery. Your Longfellow Team Care Nurse or Physical Therapist will help you walk to the bathroom using a walker or crutches and then help you sit in a chair. You will be discharged to home once you are able to sit, stand, and walk safely with the walker or other assistive device. Your Coach can provide valued support as necessary!

Where will I go after I leave the hospital?

Three options are available to you for your recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Return home and receive help from a relative, friend or your Coach. Attend outpatient physical therapy. 
  • Return home and have a home health Nurse and a Physical Therapist visit you until you are able to attend outpatient physical therapy. 
  • Stay in a sub-acute facility following your hospital stay; this option requires approval from your health insurance company.

Knee Replacement

What is osteoarthritis and why does my knee hurt?

Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis - a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage, the tough, smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones at the joint. It cushions the bones during regular movement, and because it is smooth and slippery, it promotes motion with minimal friction. Through trauma, repetitive movement, or simply due to aging, cartilage wears down, exposing the bone ends and eventually resulting in painful bone-on-bone contact, swelling, and possibly, loss of motion.

What is total knee replacement?


Knee IllustrationThe term total knee replacement is misleading. The knee itself is not replaced, but rather an implant is used to re-cap the worn ends of the bone as shown.  This is done with a metal alloy implant placed on the femur and tibia and a plastic spacer on the tibia and patella (kneecap). This creates a new, smooth cushion and a functional joint that can reduce or eliminate pain.

How long will my new joint last?

Most implants last 20 years; however, some may wear out and loosen over time.  To minimize risk, keep your weight in normal range, muscles strong and flexible and avoid high impact activities. 

What are the major risks?

Most surgeries go without complications; however, infection and blood clots are two possible side complications. To avoid them, your Surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and blood thinners.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Your goal at the Center is to be discharged one to three days after surgery. Mobility generally begins the day of surgery. Your Longfellow Team Care Nurse or Physical therapist will help you walk to the bathroom using a walker or crutches and then help you sit in a chair. You will be discharged to home once you are able to sit, stand, and walk safely with the walker or other assistive device. Your Coach can provide valued support as necessary!

Where will I go after I leave the hospital?

Three options are available to you for your recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Return home and receive help from a relative, friend or your Coach. Attend outpatient physical therapy.
  • Return home and have a home health Nurse and a Physical Therapist visit you until you are able to attend outpatient physical therapy. 
  • Stay in a sub-acute facility following your hospital stay; this option requires approval from your health insurance company.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Will I need help at home?

Depending on your progress - and especially for the first few days, you will need someone to assist you with meal preparation, common household tasks, etc. Your Coach, family or friends should be available to help. Preparing thoroughly before surgery can minimize the amount of help needed. Be sure to get your laundry done, house cleaned, yard work completed, stock clean linens, and single portion frozen meals will reduce the need for help.

Will I need physical therapy when I go home?

Yes, you will have either outpatient or in-home physical therapy. You are encouraged to utilize outpatient therapy. Your Orthopedic Care Coordinator will help arrange for these appointments. If you need home physical therapy, the Case Manager will arrange for a Physical Therapist in your home. Following this, you may continue physical therapy in an outpatient facility weekly to continue your rehabilitation. Just remember that the length of time for this type of therapy varies by patient.

Will my new implant set off security sensors when traveling?

Your implant is made of a metal alloy and may or may not be detected when going through some security devices. Just in case, always inform the security agent that you have a metal implant. The agent will then instruct you on the security screening protocol at that location.

These are just some of the frequently asked questions that you may have – for further information or to answer specific questions about your situation, please call us at 617-499-5882.

Contact Us

For more information about the Longfellow Center for Joint Replacement contact our Orthopedic Care Coordinator, Deborah Levenson, at 617-499-5882.

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