Myths & Truths

Discover the truth about joint replacement and ease your mind. Click below to see how we are dispelling myths about knee and hip replacement surgery.

Knee

Quality

Myth
Not all hospitals offer the quad-sparing procedure because it might be a risky alternative.


Truth
Virtua surgeons have performed more than 5,000 quad-sparing knee replacements. Other providers may not offer it because of the investment in training and facilities to support the quad-sparing technique. It is important to know that Virtua was the first healthcare provider in the Northeast to earn specialty joint replacement certification from the joint commission based on outstanding quality.

Age

Myth
You have to be over age 60 to consider knee replacement.

Truth
Living with a painful joint that prohibits you from working or participating in normal life activities is an outdated way of thinking. Age is not necessarily a limiting factor. Today's joint replacements last 25 years or longer and, for most people, will last a lifetime.

Alignment

Myth
Proper alignment cannot be achieved with minimally invasive quad-sparing knee replacement.

Truth
Virtua surgeons have performed more than 5,000 quad-sparing knee replacements without any alignment issues. Trained surgeons achieve the same alignment as with traditional knee replacement techniques.

Convenience

Myth
You need to live near the Virtua Joint Replacement Institute to use their services.

Truth
The travel to meet with our surgeons and to visit the institute is well worth the time. We can recommend nearby accommodations and can provide transportation and other local information to make planning the trip easier for you and your family.

Life of the Joint

Myth
You might have to have another joint replacement during your lifetime.

Truth
Most total knee replacements will last at least 25 years or longer, and many will last a lifetime. The quality of life one achieves by living without knee pain for 25 or more years is priceless.

Experience

Myth
This is a relatively new procedure and there is not enough experience with it.

Truth
Our surgeons have performed more than 5,000 minimally invasive quad-sparing joint replacements and are currently performing more than 1,000 annually.

Same-Day Replacement

Myth
Some patients are discharged and sent home the same day. That sounds risky.

Truth
Many of our patients go home the same day, not because they have to but because they can. They receive physical therapy while they are in the hospital and are evaluated to determine if they can manage at home. We have found that patients recover better in the comfort of their own home. Your surgeon will work with you to determine what is right for you.

Pain

Myth
You should wait until you can't stand the pain any longer before considering joint replacement, and you should continue with medication as long as possible.

Truth
You don't need to suffer by waiting until the pain is intolerable. The longer life of joint replacements enables people to consider surgery earlier and at a younger age.

Reputation

Myth
There is a higher quality of care at an academic medical center.

Truth
While academic medical centers provide very fine care, they also train doctors—known as residents—who often assist and/or perform surgery. At Virtua, your surgeon will be your own physician, someone who has completed training and has experience performing the procedure. To learn more about our surgeons, visit the physician profile pages on this site.

Recovery

Myth
After a knee replacement, it takes months to recover.

Truth
Depending on the activity, most patients who undergo quad-sparing knee replacement are able to get back to normal within a few weeks. A return to rigorous activity takes only a few months. Most people are able to perform routine tasks within a few weeks.

Rehabilitation

Myth
Rehabilitation after knee replacement is long and hard, the new knee does not get the full range of motion, and the knee is stiff.

Truth
For many quad-sparing patients, rehab is relatively easy. Patients also tell us that their new knee is stronger than when their actual knee was healthy.

Activity

Myth
I've heard that after knee replacement, I'll have to give up some activities and sports.

Truth
You have a high probability of getting back to activities like walking, biking or hiking in 4 to 6 weeks, taking it slow at first to determine how much the recuperating knee can tolerate. It will take a bit longer to return to more rigorous activity.

Scarring

Myth
Knee replacement surgery leaves a large scar that is noticeable.

Truth
Thanks to Virtua's minimally invasive procedure, scarring is minimal compared to traditional surgery. In fact, the scar is typically only 3 to 5 inches long. As time passes, the scar will fade and become less noticeable.

Doctors

Myth
The best surgeons are found only at academic medical centers.

Truth
Our surgical team is led by an internationally recognized surgeon who has taught the quad-sparing technique to surgeons from around the world. In fact, our surgical team members have been trained at leading academic medical centers and have brought their skills here because they are passionate about healing patients. Virtua also serves as an international teaching site for minimally invasive quad-sparing joint replacement techniques.

Hip

Trust

Myth
How can I trust that Virtua is the right place to have hip replacement?

Truth
Virtua was the first healthcare provider in the Northeast to obtain specialty joint replacement certification from the Joint Commission based on outstanding quality. Many patients have put their trust in us.

Age

Myth
My physician said I'm not old enough to consider hip replacement.

Truth
Living with a painful hip because of your age is an outdated way of thinking. Joint replacement isn't about age. It's about joint disease and your quality of life. If your joint doesn't function properly and limits you from working or doing the things you enjoy, then you are not too young to consider joint replacement as an option.

Anesthesia

Myth
I have been told that I have to lie flat for 6 to 8 hours after having spinal anesthesia to prevent getting bad headaches.

Truth
Today's anesthesia techniques and equipment reduce the likelihood of a headache. You'll have some freedom of movement immediately after surgery. In fact, physical therapy will begin the day of surgery.

Convenience

Myth
I don't live in South Jersey. It would be inconvenient to travel there to have my surgery.

Truth
A trip to Virtua's nationally renowned Joint Replacement Institute is well worth your time. We can assist you with nearby accommodations, transportation, and other local information to make planning the trip easier for you and your family.

Driving

Myth
It will be months before I can start driving again.

Truth
In general, if you are no longer taking pain relievers and your left hip was replaced, you may be able to drive an automatic transmission after 2 weeks. If your right hip was replaced, you should not drive for 2 to 4 weeks. It typically takes this long to regain the reflexes to fully depress the brake pedal.

Life of the Joint

Myth
I'm concerned about longevity. If you have a hip replaced too early, it won't last and you'll eventually have to do it again.


Truth
The longevity of today's hip replacement joints is 15 to 20 years, and in many cases, a lifetime. 95% of all hip replacements are still fine after 15 years and 85% are still fine after 25 years. Most will last a lifetime.

Experience

Myth
What is Virtua's experience?

Truth
Thousands of these procedures have been successfully performed by the Virtua Joint Replacement Institute. Almost 2,000 replacements are performed annually and that number is increasing.

Rehabilitation

Myth
I heard that I'll have to go from the hospital to an in-patient rehabilitation facility. I would much rather go home.

Truth
Rehabilitation is very specific to each patient’s circumstances. However, home is often the best place for patients to recover, and we make every effort to get you there as soon as possible. The majority of our patients are discharged to their homes and receive outpatient home care and rehabilitation.

Pain

Myth
I heard I should wait until I can't stand the pain before considering hip replacement surgery. My doctor recommends I stay on pain medication to avoid or delay surgery.

Truth
You don’t need to suffer by waiting until the pain is unbearable. If pain limits your normal activities, you should consider hip replacement. Pain medications can also limit your activities, and they do not improve joint disease. With our minimally invasive techniques, recovery is faster. Additionally, pain medications can be addictive when used for long periods of time, can cause complications, and can make recovery more difficult.

Activities

Myth
I'm afraid I'll have to give up activities and sports.

Truth
You will likely get back to the low-impact activities and sports you love after 4 to 6 weeks. Check with your surgeon about high-impact activities.

Reputation

Myth
I heard I'd get a better quality of care at a teaching hospital.

Truth
At Virtua, residents (surgeons in training) do not perform your surgery, as is often the case at teaching hospitals. Our premier surgeons perform hip replacements themselves, so you can be assured you'll receive the highest quality of care from surgeons that have done thousands of procedures. Additionally, our surgeons oversee every aspect of your care, take pride in positive patient outcomes, and actively engage in quality assurance initiatives.

Recovery

Myth
I will have to spend several months away from work.

Truth
Our patients say that their new hip is as strong as or stronger than when their hip was healthy. For many patients, rehab after minimally invasive hip replacement is relatively quick and painless compared to older replacement methods. In fact, many people are able to discard their walkers and canes within a week or two of surgery.

Risks

Myth
I've heard there can be complications and risks with joint replacement, like infections or blood clots.

Truth
Instances of complications are very, very rare. The risk of infection is less than 0.5 percent, and the risk of a blood clot is less than 1 percent. Our outcomes are above national averages, especially in the Philadelphia area.

Scarring

Myth
I'm worried about scarring. I don't want to have a huge scar.

Truth
Thanks to Virtua's minimally invasive procedure, scarring is drastically minimized compared to traditional procedures. In fact, the scar is typically only 3 to 5 inches long compared to 10 inches with older procedures. As time passes, the scar will heal and fade and is often unnoticeable.

Stairs

Myth
My home and/or workplace has stairs. It will be months before I can go up and down stairs on my own.

Truth
Our physical therapists make sure you can go up and down stairs before you leave the hospital. The vast majority of patients go home after surgery, vs. inpatient rehab, even if their home has stairs. But it is a good idea to keep stairs to a minimum for a few weeks.

Heels

Myth
I'll never be able to wear heels again.

Truth
After a successful hip replacement, you can wear whatever shoes you want.

Weight

Myth
I've heard there are weight restrictions. Do I have to lose weight before I can consider hip replacement?

Truth
Determining whether you are a candidate for hip replacement is not based on weight. Many people who are overweight have joint replacement, and have even reported losing weight due to increased mobility.

Doctors

Myth
You don’t have the "Top Docs" like Philadelphia hospitals.

Truth
Our surgeons are nationally recognized as pioneers in minimally invasive hip replacement. They have been identified as "Top Docs" in regional publications as well as US News & World Report. Virtua also serves as an international teaching site for minimally invasive joint replacement techniques.

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