How Long Does It Take To Recover From Joint Replacement

Every patient reacts differently to surgical intervention depending on their health and the complexity of the procedure. Therefore, recovery time varies substantially based on medical condition, overall fitness, and circumstantial factors. Identifying what affects recovery times will help you prepare for the time investment required for a successful knee or hip joint replacement.

The joint replacement journey and timeline

You may know someone who underwent hip or knee replacement surgery and was discharged home the same day. It used to be necessary for a patient to stay in the hospital for several nights following hip or knee replacement surgery. Modern techniques and medicines, combined with multimodal pain management and rehabilitation protocols have allowed many people to have joint replacement surgeries without spending a single night in the hospital. There will be some occasions when a patient will need to stay in the hospital for a night or two to ensure careful monitoring of other medical conditions and to confirm that they are safe to be discharged to their home. This is determined on an individual basis for each patient.

How long does joint replacement surgery take?

While the length of time can vary for each patient, the average primary joint replacement surgery takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. We will review the expected time required for surgery with each patient before the surgery takes place. After your surgery, you will spend some time in the post-anesthesia-care-unit (PACU) or “recovery room”. Typical recovery room stays vary depending on whether you are being discharged home or spending the night in the hospital. Patients are permitted to go home when:

  • Vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure are stable
  • They are walking short distances safely with a walker
  • They can eat and drink comfortably
  • They can use the restroom
  • Their pain can be reasonably controlled with oral medications
    • How long does it take to completely recover from a joint replacement?

      Hip: 3-12 months

      The majority of people who undergo total hip replacement can participate in most of their daily activities within 4 to 6 weeks. Many people return to daily activities without restriction after three months and then continue to gain strength and endurance for the first 6 to 12 months after surgery.

        Knee: 12-18 months

        Following a knee replacement, you will likely be ambulating without walking aids within four weeks. However, there will be residual soreness and stiffness that will continue to improve. Most patients are back to work and most normal activities by three months. The knee continues to heal and improve for a full 12 to 18 months after surgery. All of this depends on: your health prior to surgery, any additional medical issues, and your commitment to recovery!

        If you are seeking advice about your knee or hip health, visit the highly experienced, innovative practice of Matthew D. Barber, M.D. Call us at (251) 410-3600 or Request an appointment with our practice to discuss treatment options and create an individualized approach to your care.

        While Dr Barber focuses exclusively on the management of knee and hip problems with a focus on joint replacement procedures, he is proud to be a source of information for patients and has several specialist partners at ALABAMA ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC who are available to treat any orthopaedic condition.