by Christopher E. Mutty, M.D.

Do I need to stay overnight in the hospital for hip or knee replacement surgery?

Hip and knee replacement is typically performed as an outpatient procedure at a hospital or surgery center and does not require an overnight stay. Individuals with medical conditions that put them at higher risk or patients who live alone or who must walk stairs at home may stay overnight. It is rare for patients to require an inpatient hospital stay or to be discharged to a rehab facility.

Do I need to do anything special when traveling with a hip or knee replacement?

People with hip or knee replacements do not have travel limitations. Most major airports utilize advanced imaging technology at TSA checkpoints, which allows the visualization of the implant, so telling TSA about your implant prior to screening is important. Your surgeon can also provide you with an implant card to present to TSA. Still, be prepared for a possible private screening or pat-down while traveling.

Can I have an MRI after hip or knee replacement?

MRIs are perfectly safe for patients with hip and knee replacements. However, MRIs near body implants can be challenging due to possible visual distortion due to the implant. A special type of MRI can also be used to image these implants if there is a suspected problem.

Do I need to take antibiotics before visiting the dentist?

Historically, surgeons recommended that people with knee and hip replacements take antibiotics prior to dental visits, to prevent infections due to bacteria getting into the bloodstream and traveling to the replaced joint. More recent studies show that this is no longer required. You should talk this over with your surgeon and dentist prior to your dental appointment.

How long will my replacement last?

Hip and knee replacements are made of metal, plastic, and sometimes ceramic, which can wear and loosen, resulting in pain and the need for an additional surgery. Technology is constantly changing to increase implant lifespans. A recent study showed that 15% of hip replacement patients and 10% of knee replacement patients needed a second surgery after 20 years. The risk is higher for younger patients. There is a 5% lifetime risk of second surgery being required in patients over 70.

You will have many questions If you are considering a hip or knee replacement. When making an appointment to see an orthopaedic surgeon about hip or knee replacement, it is helpful to be prepared with questions prior to your appointment. Having a thorough discussion with your surgeon will help you to be well-informed and feel more confident about proceeding with joint replacement, and what to anticipate during your recovery process and beyond.

Dr. Christopher Mutty is an orthopaedic surgeon with UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports medicine who specializes in hip and knee replacement. Call 716-898-3944 to make an appointment with Dr. Mutty.Learn more at