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Frequently asked questions

Pain relief (analgesia) is important to take as prescribed by your doctor. Be sure not to miss a dose of your pain medication. As with most medication there are side effects. Be aware of the side effects by reading the information leaflets accompanied with the medication.

For example, codeine medication may cause constipation. It is important that you take your prescribed laxative medication to avoid this.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your medication when you are at home, please contact your GP or local pharmacists.

After surgery on the hip or knee, you are at increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in one of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Other factors may also increase your risk of DVT, including:

  • Previous DVT
  • History of blood clots
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Overweight or obese

When travelling for prolonged periods (4 hours or more) whether by plane, bus, car, boat or train with prolonged sitting and reduced movement, your risk of DVT increases. Your risk may remain higher after travel for as long as 4 weeks.

Your surgeon will advise you prior to surgery of the period of time you should refrain from travel both prior to surgery and following surgery. Dependent upon the type of operation this could be 2–4 weeks before surgery and up to 12 weeks following surgery (hip and knee joint replacement).

The most important point about driving is that you should feel confident and safe to do so. You need to be sure that your medications are not affecting your ability to think clearly or react appropriately. This means that you should have been advised by your doctor or surgeon that you have the movement in your affected limb and that you are free from taking any strong pain medications which may cause drowsiness.

You should gradually re-introduce driving, preferably accompanied by another person, initially in an open space without traffic. You should feel comfortable and confident and practice your 'emergency stop' before resuming normal driving on open roads.

If you drive an automatic vehicle and your surgery was on your left side, once you are no longer taking 'strong' medication for pain and you feel comfortable, your doctor will assess your limb and you will be advised accordingly, dependent upon the type of surgery you have had.

If your surgery was on your right leg, then you will need to avoid driving for 2–6 weeks depending on the type of surgery you have had.

After surgery, it is important not to submerge or soak your incision in water. Healing of the incision takes 10–14 days. Depending on the type of surgery and the type of dressing applied, you should be able to shower within 2–3 days of surgery. You may have a waterproof dressing in place which will protect your incision. Take extra care not to place the incision directly into the stream of water. Pat the surrounding area dry as opposed to rubbing the area which may loosen the dressing.

Please discuss this with your surgeon or the nurse consultant/advanced nurse practitioner.

You will need to wait until the incision has completely healed before you get into a bath, pool or hot tub. Depending upon the type of surgery, this may be 2–6 weeks.

Any walking aid is used to assist with keeping you mobile and to support your recovery. The walking aid is used on an individual assessment by the physiotherapist and will depend upon your type of surgery and your personal recovery. This can be approximately 1–6 weeks.

Of course, if you have other mobility issues separate to the recovery from your surgery, this will be assessed and tailored to your needs

Your safety is the most important factor.

Full healing and recovery is very individual and it is important to not compare yourself with any other person. Equally, you may have had previous surgery and recovered very quickly, though it is important that you may recover at the same pace with subsequent surgery, it is important to acknowledge that you may be a little slower in your recovery next time around.

Your recovery will be measured by goals to achieve and you will receive all the support from the orthopaedic team in achieving these goals. For example:

  • Maintaining the range of movement in your join
  • Increasing your mobility
  • Reducing your analgesia

Most people will feel better than they did before their surgery within a few days/weeks. As long as there are no complications, many people will feel recovered and back to their normal activities by 3 months, with very few limitations.

It is important to acknowledge that we are all individual and therefore, some people will take longer for full healing and recovery to be complete (6–12 months).

From referral, our average waiting times to see you at your first outpatient appointment is 3–4 weeks.

The consultant oversees all of their patients. It is not practically possible for the consultant to see every patient; however we have a team full of experienced surgeons attached to each consultant. If you specifically want to see the consultant, please make the relevant secretary aware ahead of your appointment.


If you are regularly using medication including tablets, inhalers or creams prescribed by your own doctor or medication you buy from your local pharmacy or health food shop or if you have a special card with details of any treatment, please bring them with you during your hospital stay.

On many wards there are now safe drug storage lockers by your bed where we will store your medication during your stay. We will remove any old or unwanted medication and add any newly prescribed medication to your locker while you are in hospital.

This all helps to make sure you receive the best care. If you are unable or not willing to bring in your own medication please bring an up-to-date list of all your regular medication so we can ensure the drug chart at the end of your bed is correct. Bringing your own medication into hospital is very helpful and can reduce the time you wait for your tablets prior to discharge.

Address and telephone number of next of kin

Please bring a note of the name, address and telephone number of your next of kin or closest friend.

Your letter of admission

You will have received this through the post. Please ensure that you call the ward on the day before admission to confirm that a bed is available.

Personal property

Please bring with you the following items, as appropriate:

  • Personal toiletries
  • Nightdress/pyjamas
  • Dressing gown
  • Well fitted slippers/footwear
  • Tissues
  • Towels
  • Indoor clothes, if preferred
  • Spectacles, hearing/walking aids etc.
Single Assessment Folders (SAP)

If you are receiving care and treatment from community and social care staff you may have a Single Assessment Folder (SAP). If so, please bring this to hospital with you.

What NOT to bring with you

Please don’t bring the following into hospital with you:

  • Alcohol, tobacco or tobacco products
  • Outdoor clothing
  • TV or radio
  • Money and valuables
We are part of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
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