Joint Replacement Surgery Your Journey

Your Journey

We are committed to supporting you through your hip or knee replacement surgery journey

We have a highly skilled and dedicated Orthopaedic Care Team, including specialised orthopaedic nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists who work closely with you and your surgeon to understand your needs and goals and prepare you for surgery.

Everyone’s journey will look different. Our team will work through your recovery options with you based on your clinical needs, lifestyle and your private health insurance cover.

We are with you every step of the way.

Your Surgical Journey
Click the tabs below to view more information on each of the steps.

Booking surgery

Access our online portal to complete your admission to hospital. It is a quick and easy way to begin your admission process.

Click here.

For any questions about your upcoming admission, contact our team 02 8382 7111.

Preadmission appointment

Our team will carefully assess your needs and create a personalised recovery pathway for you.

You will receive further information about your hospital stay and have any of your questions answered.

Prehab consult

We will introduce you to comfortable exercises and suitable walking aids to make sure you are set up for a speedy recovery.


Join us online via Zoom for a live and interactive education session and learn more about what you can expect during your hip or knee replacement surgery.

Joint School is held twice weekly and can be attended before or after your preadmission appointment.


Our dedicated team will be ready to support you when you arrive for surgery.

For more information about the day of surgery, click here.


Our Orthopaedic Care Team support you in your recovery journey beyond surgery.

We want you to return home and back to normal activities as soon as possible.

Your Recovery Options

St Vincent’s Private @Home Recovery

St Vincent’s Private @Home Recovery is designed to make you feel independent and confident recovering at home:

  • Daily phone or telehealth calls from our specialised nurse as required
  • Phone calls from our physiotherapist outside of home visits as required
  • At home physiotherapy and allied health sessions
  • 4 x hydrotherapy outpatient sessions
  • Access to an exercise library and self-monitoring tools
  • Up to 4 x hydrotherapy outpatient sessions

Day Programs

Day Therapy Programs are also available for eligible patients. Your surgeon and physiotherapist will work with you to determine if you are suitable.

Our Day Therapy Program may include visits to our rehabilitation facility for physiotherapy sessions in the gym or hydrotherapy pool, group dietician or occupational therapy sessions.


Hydrotherapy Programs are also available for eligible patients. Your surgeon and physiotherapist will work with you to determine if you are suitable for these programs.     

These programs include visits to our rehabilitation facility where you will work with a physiotherapist through a series of progressive exercises in the water.

Inpatient rehab

Admission to inpatient rehabilitation is available for patients who have a clinical need and do not meet the criteria for a safe discharge home.

Your Orthopaedic Care Team will work with you to make sure the safest recovery option is decided.

St Vincent’s Private @Home Recovery

Frequently Asked Questions

You will have either a general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic. It is best to talk about your anaesthetic plan with your surgeon and the Anaesthetist.
Hip or knee replacement surgery normally takes between 60 and 90 minutes. However, there is also a 30 minute period in the preoperative area that includes anaesthetic preparation and a minimum of 60mins in recovery prior to discharge to the orthopaedic ward. This all adds up to a total time of approximately 3 hours in most cases. 
Most patients need to stay in hospital four to six days following their surgery.

Our Orthopaedic Care Team will work closely with your surgeon to work through your recovery options with you, based on your clinic needs, lifestyle and your private health insurance cover. In preparation for surgery, you will be assessed by our team in a preadmission appointment, shown comfortable exercises in your prehab consultation and prepared for surgery in our Online Joint School.

Everyone’s recovery journey will look different. These days most patients are choosing to return home to complete their recovery. This means that you can choose to have our experienced Orthopaedic Care Team, including specialised orthopaedic nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, visit you in the comfort of your own home. You will also have access to our gym and hydrotherapy pool at our rehabilitation facility.

Day Therapy Programs are also available for suitable patients and involve group gym and hydrotherapy sessions at our rehabilitation facility.

In the unlikely event there is a reason that you are unable to go home as planned, your surgeon and our Orthopaedic Care Team will arrange for you to stay in our Inpatient Rehabilitation facility.

Our recovery pathway options are tailored to you. Through our comprehensive recovery pathway, our team will assess and monitor you every step of the way to ensure we meet your needs and goals for hip or knee replacement surgery.

Yes, you can. The dressing over your wound is waterproof; however, if for any reason water gets soaked through the dressing, it may need to be changed. You will need to keep your wound clean and dry for two weeks after your operation. You can contact the Orthopaedic Care Team if you require any additional dressings.
This will depend on your surgeon’s preferences. Your surgeon will tell you if it will be safe to sleep on your side. Once you surgeon lets you know when it is safe to sleep on your side, you will start by sleeping on the side of your non-operated hip or knee. Patients often find it more comfortable to place a pillow between their legs when returning to sleeping on their side. 
This depends on the type of work that you do. After returning home, you will likely need at least a week to recover before considering returning to lighter work duties. You may find that complicated analytical work may be affected by your strong prescribed pain medications. You should also not attempt to sit for more than 60 minutes at one time, so it is best to break up your working day if possible. Work that requires a great deal of moving around or long periods of being on your feet should not be attempted for six to eight weeks after hip or knee replacement surgery following clearance from your surgeon. Returning to half days at work initially can be helpful to assist with returning to work. 
Some surgeons follow hip or knee precautions after hip replacement surgery for some of their patients. If you have been advised that you need to follow hip or knee precautions, these can last for up to eight weeks following your surgery. Always allow your hip or knee to function within comfort levels and never force your leg into positions where there are twisting or rotation movements. If unsure, ask our Orthopaedic Care Team.
Your general practitioner or your Surgeon will review your pain management plan throughout your recovery and provide you with advice about the best approach to reduce and then cease the prescribed pain relief. It is not uncommon to have some intermittent pain or discomfort symptoms in your hip or knee and leg muscles for up to six to nine months after surgery. These intermittent pain symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter pain relief. Check with you general practitioner regarding the safety of taking these medications.

It is important to carefully follow the instructions from your orthopaedic surgeon and the members of our Orthopaedic Care Team. You will need to notify your surgeon if you develop any of the following warning signs.

Warning signs of possible blood clots in the legs include:

  • Pain in your calf and leg that is not related to your incision
  • Tenderness or redness in the calf
  • New or increasing swelling in your thigh, calf, ankle or foot

Warning signs of a clot in your lungs (pulmonary embolism) include:

  • Sudden unexplained shortness of breath
  • Sudden onset of chest pain
  • Localised chest pain with coughing

Your recovery plan includes early, regular walking and leg exercises which are designed to reduce the risk of clots following surgery. Walking and exercising regularly should be continued when you are discharged home. Your mobility and recovery exercise plan is monitored by our Orthopaedic Care Team following your surgery.

You must inform your dentist that you have had hip or knee replacement surgery. You may need to be prescribed prophylactic antibiotics and cease any anti-coagulants.

Following a hip or knee replacement, cycling on a stationary bike is a good way to get back to moderate exercise. You may start cycling when you are able to safely get on and off the stationary bike. Your surgeon will advise when it is safe to do so. Six weeks after your hip or knee replacement surgery you can begin using light weights on your legs. You should begin with low weights and gradually increase them. Always check with your physiotherapist prior to beginning weights or gym work.

It is not advisable to do any regular jogging, running or jumping activities after your hip or knee replacement surgery, particularly for the first three months following surgery. You will need to check with your surgeon regarding returning to impact sports because they may affect your hip or knee replacement in the long term.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney is a tertiary referral orthopaedic centre where patients travel long distances to receive care from their surgeon and the Orthopaedic Care Team. We have some patients who fly home within Australia after surgery, however this must be cleared by your surgeon. Long-haul flights are best left for 12 weeks following hip replacement surgery. Your surgeon will advise you of when this is safe to do so. Keep your TED stockings to wear when you fly. Our Orthopaedic Care Team can arrange telehealth consultations before and after hip or knee replacement surgery for patients who are discharged home and need to travel long distances.
Your surgeon will advise when you can return to driving. This may be up to six weeks following your surgery. This is often because of certain prescribed pain medications that you may still be taking. Any reduction in your muscle strength and control may limit your ability to return to driving sooner. If you drive before you receive clearance from your surgeon, you may not be covered by your car insurance. If in doubt, please check with your surgeon and car insurer.
You can return to this when you feel comfortable to. Please ask the members of the occupational therapy team for more information about safe positions for sexual intimacy, as required.
There should be no deep tissue massage on your legs for the first six weeks after surgery. You may also be unable to lie on your stomach on a massage table before this time.
The most important aspect of your walking recovery is that you walk safely without a limp. You may have developed a limp while protecting your hip or knee prior to your operation, which may continue out of habit. Therefore, unless specified by your surgeon, you are allowed to stop using one crutch or a walking stick when you can walk without a limp and you feel steady and safe. Your physiotherapist will advise you when you are ready to begin walking without a single crutch or walking stick. Remember, people are more careful when they see someone with a crutch or walking stick, so continue using these when you are in crowds, on uneven ground or travelling on public transport until you are confident and strong.
Everyone’s pain varies after hip or knee replacement surgery with the amount of time before the pain goes away different for each individual. As a general guideline, your pain can be significantly less by approximately six weeks following your hip or knee replacement surgery. You may experience some ongoing intermittent pain symptoms at night or after increased activity, for example a longer walk than normal or a session with your physiotherapist for progression of your recovery plan. You will gradually reduce the amount of pain relief that you require as your pain settles and as you regain your independence. You may still require some pain relief either overnight or when exercising, but you should aim to gradually wean off the prescribed pain relief, following discussions with you general practitioner and, if required, your surgeon. 
It normally can take up to approximately three months for the swelling to gradually go away. You can continue to apply ice packs to the hip or knee area and continue to rest throughout the day, especially after exercise or a walk, for the first six weeks after hip replacement surgery.
It depends on the sensitivity of the scanner. You will need to let security know that you have had a hip or knee replacement and be prepared to show them your scar. A letter from the surgeon will not be sufficient.

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