Image of doctor nurses around patient bed.
Image of woman at dentist

Dental Visits

It is important to tell your dentist or health care professional that you have had joint replacement surgery before having any dental work or medical procedures (including procedures with the bladder, prostate, lung or colon).

You must be put on antibiotics to prevent infection from moving through your bloodstream to your new joint.

This will be necessary each time you have dental work or procedures and this practice will continue for the rest of your life.


Recommended Dental Prophylaxis

Image of plane flying in sky.


If you are planning a trip by plane at some point after your surgery, ask your surgeon how long you need to wait before flying.

It is recommended for long haul flights that you wait at least 3 months. Your new joint may set off metal detectors at the airport. Many people have joint replacements and airport security are used to this. You just need to verbally inform them which joint was replaced if the detector is triggered. If you must fly within 3 months of having hip surgery, bring your high-density foam cushion to raise the height of your seat. While on the plane, do foot pumping exercises every 15 minutes and walk about the plane every 30 minutes to help reduce the risk of blood clots. Take plenty of fluids as dehydration can predispose to blood clots. Taking a baby aspirin is also helpful.

Image of date to return to work circled

Return to Work

We normally recommend at least 12 weeks before returning o work after a joint replacement. Experience has shown that many patients have not fully recovered or are mobile enough to return to employment. It is recognized that many patients differ in their work and this is a guide. Those who have more sedentary jobs can sometimes return earlier than 12 weeks whilst others with more physical jobs may require the full 3 months. In certain circumstances ongoing employment may not be achievable for some and should be discussed prior to proceeding with surgery.

Image of patient driving a car.


After joint replacement surgery your general mobility and reaction time is not normal and there is a consensus that patients are not safe to drive until 6 weeks after surgery.

We strongly advise against this as you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

In addition any person with an injured limb and in a cast after a broken arm or leg is similarly not deemed fit to drive.

Similar precautions to those discussed above for long trips by plane must be adhered to if a long car journey is planned. Preferably wait 3months and make sure you take regular stops to get out and exercise and maintain good hydration.

Young couple cycling after successful surgery.

Return to Sports

Patients following joint replacement surgery are encouraged to be active early. We don’t recommend return to sports until after 6 weeks, and then only on a gradual basis.

We encourage cycling as helpful soon after surgery and then allow return to the gym, elliptical, cycling, swimming after 6 weeks. Progressing to recreational sports as able thereafter (e.g golf, curling, doubles tennis, hiking, etc).

We caution with skating and skiing dependent on the patients ability and do not recommend contact or impact sports with total joint replacement unless a hip resurfacing was carried out.

Image of smiling couple.

Sexual Activity

Return to regular sexual activity after joint replacement surgery varies.

Total Knee Replacement

Any patient Male or Female may return to sexual activity in any form or position as is comfortable. There is no restriction other than comfort.

Total Hip Replacement

There is very little guidance on this subject for patients following hip surgery. Needless to say position and comfort varies for either the male or female patient.

Resume sexual activity as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. Let your partner assume the more active role. Most patients prefer to resume intercourse in the “bottom” position. This position requires less energy. As your hip heals you may take a more active role. Avoid any position that causes you pain. A recent article provides a good guide for safe positions following surgery.

After 6 weeks Dr Wood recommends that males and females are safe to assume most routine positions for intercourse as is comfortable.

Image of pills and antibiotic medication

Wound Infection

Wound infection is our biggest worry and complication in joint surgery. Accepted results are between 1-2% and are known to be higher following Total Knee Replacement.

Dr Wood’s Overall Incidence of Infection from 2008-2012

Surgeries performed at
Kingston General Hospital
Total Knee Replacement: 2%
Total Hip Replacement: <1%

Surgeries performed at
Hotel Dieu Hospital
Total Knee Replacement: 2%
Total Hip Replacement: <1%

Upon discharge from hospital:

  • Your incision will be covered by a waterproof dressing which will allow you to shower.
  • Your hospital nurse will review with you how to care for your incisions/dressing at home, and how to identify any signs or symptoms of infection.
  • Please follow the specific instructions given to you by your nurse or surgeon.
  • The staples or stitches are removed in 10-14 days. You may be asked to have your family doctor remove them.
  • Most Important is to contact your surgeon immediately if there is concern with the wound. Or ask your family doctor to contact your surgeon on your behalf.

You MUST NOT take antibiotic unless prescribed by your surgeon

If an infection occurs, early emergent washout and surgery of the hip is required to save the hip. If infection becomes established, the whole implant has to be removed and more surgeries are required. Hence the importance of infection prevention and urgent contact to the surgeon when it is suspected.

Note: Infection is a concern for future procedures, especially DENTAL work.

Prior to any procedure antibiotic must be administered. This is for the rest of your life!

Diabetic control is of utmost importance.

Poor control leads to a drastic increase in complications especially infections. HBA1C must be checked and less than 7.4 for safer surgery.

Image of male patient being helped up stairs during post-op rehabilitation.

Patient Rehabilitation

A motivated patient who takes control and participates in independently doing their exercises and works hard in the first 6 weeks reaps the rewards of a successful joint replacement. Physiotherapists are available to support and educate you through your surgery and beyond. The ultimate outcome depends on the patient.

Please be advised if you have any concerns in the recovery period and particularly wound issues DO NOT HESITATE to call Dr Wood’s office or have your doctor call him. It is critical problems are detected early and dealt with by Dr Wood.

If you have a joint replacement you must not take antibiotics for a wound complication unless directed by Dr. Wood.

View rehabiltitation protocols:

Image of Dr. Gavin WOod


I encourage all patients to provide feedback, good or bad, that it may be used for the advantage of future patients. Areas of concern about your care, the process or hospital visit will be taken and used to improve on the quality we aim to provide.

Many patients like yourself will visit this site wondering what the experience of going through such surgery is like. Patient comments and advice from you can be shared to help them.

Also feel free to go to Rate your MD to provide comments or ratings on Dr. Wood.

Leave Feedback

Rate Your MD