Frequently Asked Questions

Surgery By The Numbers

How many total hip or knee replacements does the Bone & Joint Institute perform?

Robotic and Traditional Surgery

What’s The Difference Between Robotic Surgery And Traditional Surgery?

Before Joint Replacement Surgery

What can I do in the weeks before surgery to decrease my risk of complications?
How else will you help me prepare for my surgery?

Your Joint Replacement Surgery

How long will my surgery last?
How long will I be in the hospital?
What is my joint replacement made of?

Post-Surgery Joint Replacement Pain

How much pain can I expect, and how will it be managed in the hospital and after I go home?
How long will I be on pain medication?

After Your Joint Replacement Surgery: When You Get Home

What will I be able to do/not do after my total joint replacement? 
When can I start driving?
Do I need to take antibiotics after a joint replacement if I’m scheduled to have dental work?

When You Are Not a Candidate for Surgery

What risk factors for infection could prevent a joint replacement surgery?

Stem Cell Treatment

Are stem cell injections useful as an alternative to joint replacement surgery?


Surgery by the Numbers

Q: How many total hip or knee replacements does the Bone & Joint Institute perform?
A: Bone & Joint Institute surgeons performed 5,400 surgeries in 2018. Of those, 1,500 were total knee replacements, 850 were total hip replacements and 190 were total shoulder replacements. 


Robotic and Traditional Surgery

Q: What’s The Difference Between Robotic Surgery And Traditional Surgery?

A: Hartford Hospital, home of the Bone & Joint Institute, was the first in the state to offer patients Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for partial knee resurfacing, total knee replacement and total hip replacement. Mako’s robotic-assisted arm, known as RIO, uses a CT scan of your knee or hip to make a virtual model of the prosthesis. The surgeon then uses RIO to guide the patient-specific prosthesis into place, ensuring a more accurate fit and greater consistency during placement.

Mako vs. Traditional Knee Surgery

  • Average Incision Length: 4-6 inches (traditional: 8-10 inches).
  • Possible swelling: Several weeks (traditional: 3-6 months).
  • Return to driving a car: Within 2 weeks (traditional: 6-8 weeks).

What You Should Do Before Joint Replacement Surgery

Q: What can I do in the weeks before surgery to decrease my risk of complications?
A: Here are a few things that can make your recovery smoother:

  • No alcohol or tobacco: Do not drink alcohol a week before surgery. (It can interfere with some medications.) Stop smoking 4-6 weeks before surgery. (Nicotine slows healing and increases infection risk.)
  • No dental work: Get any dental work done at least two weeks before your surgery. That includes a routine cleaning.
  • Stick to a healthy diet: A strong, healthy body is better equipped to recover from surgery.
  • Exercise: Focus on strengthening your upper body and core in the weeks before surgery – it will help you move after losing full function of your knee or hip immediately after surgery.

Q: How else will you help me prepare for my surgery?
A: All orthopedic patients scheduled for an elective procedure at the Bone & Joint Institute must complete a pre-operative medical-risk assessment at our Procedure-Related Education and Pre-Anesthesia Risk Evaluation (PREPARE) Center within 30 days of their procedure.

This program, which takes about 90 minutes, ensures a safe and successful surgery.


Your Joint Replacement Surgery

Q: How long will my surgery last?
A: Your surgery will last 2-3 hours. If you are having bilateral joint replacement, it might be 1-2 hours longer.

Q: How long will I be in the hospital?
A: Your hospital stay most likely will be overnight. Occasionally, a patient might need a second night depending upon the surgical procedure and other medical conditions.

Q: What is my joint replacement made of?
A: Most prosthetics are titanium alloy with polyethylene (plastic) liners. Your doctor will chose the specific implant based on fit and the condition of your joint. Any allergies to certain metal components will also influence the selection of your prosthetic.


Post-Surgery Joint Replacement Pain

Q: How much pain can I expect, and how will it be managed in the hospital and after I go home?
A: To help us minimize your pain after surgery, you will be asked to rate the pain’s intensity on a scale of 0 to 10. After surgery, 0 is not attainable, but a score of 4 to 5 is an acceptable, and attainable, score for most patients.

While in the hospital, your nurse will make sure your pain relief plan is working. We also offer, through our Integrative Medicine program, alternative pain relief than can include Reiki, massage, guided imagery or acupuncture. After you leave the hospital, your doctor will monitor your pain plain. Please check with your doctor if you start taking any over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or supplements.

Integrative Medicine

Q: How long will I be on pain medication?
A: Patients are typically on pain medication for the first two weeks in a tapered regimen. By the time you see your surgeon on the first post-operative visit, typically two weeks after the surgery, you should be on little or no pain medication. Your doctor will determine the type of medication.


After Your Joint Replacement Surgery: When You Get Home

Q: What will I be able to do/not do after my total joint replacement? 
A: After you leave the hospital, our Home Care Services will visit you within 24 hours to assess your needs for daily physical therapy. These services, which last up to two weeks, are typically covered by Medicare and most private insurers.

During this period, your rehabilitation will focus on regaining: 

  • Strength.
  • Range of motion.
  • Functional mobility.
  • Achieving your goals of recovery.

Q: When can I start driving?
A: That is to be determined by your doctor during your post-operative office visit. The usual answer is when your operative leg functions like your nonoperative leg. It’s a question of building strength and the requisite reaction time required when driving a vehicle.

Q: Do I need to take antibiotics after a joint replacement if I’m scheduled to have dental work?
A: Yes. Any bleeding during your dentist visit will allow bacteria in your mouth to enter you bloodstream, possibly causing an infection at your prosthesis. Our doctors recommend no dental work in the first three months after your surgery.

Q: Will my joint replacement set off metal detectors at the airport?
A: Your prosthetic knee could set off the alarm if you walked through the metal detector, so let

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers know about your medical condition before the screening. Ask for screening by a body scanner, which uses imaging technology that can identify any metal in your knee as part of a prosthetic.


When Am I Not a Candidate for Joint Replacement Surgery?

Q: What risk factors for infection could prevent a joint replacement surgery?
A: A body mass index (BMI) over 45, smoking, poorly controlled diabetes and immunosuppressive medications. 


Does the Bone & Joint Institute Recommend Stem Cell Treatment?

Q: Are stem cell injections useful as an alternative to joint replacement surgery?
A: No. You’ve seen them in the news, but they are not helpful. Cells from bone marrow, blood or fat tissue are injected into the knee or hip, ostensibly to regenerate tissue and reduce inflammation. Such use is not supported by any medical evidence. Worse, this treatment can cost thousands of dollars with no benefit to the patient.