Joint Reconstruction FAQ

Have more questions? Search the most commonly questions our patients ask about joint reconstruction here.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

If you have a question or problem that needs the attention of your orthopedic surgeon, please call us during office hours to speak with a nurse or medical assistant. Please remember that the doctor may be in surgery or seeing patients in office and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Prescriptions and refills are issued during weekday office hours only, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Requests made after 4 p.m. will not be addressed until the next business day. Please allow 72 hours for authorization on a refill. Remember to check your medicine requirements prior to weekends and holiday as prescriptions for pain medication will not be filled or refilled after office hours. Please use our on-line portal for you medication refill request. If you need to speak to one of the clinical staff members, please call 616-459-3900 and ask to speak to the clinical staff for your physician. The on-call physician will not refill narcotic pain medication.

Effective October 6, 2014, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency has changed hydrocodone containing medications to a schedule II drug. These medications include Norco, Vicodin, Lortab, Hycet, and Vicoprofen. This means that these medications are not able to be called into a pharmacy, but require a written prescription. When calling to request a refill on these medications, we require a 72 hours’ notice to ensure a signed prescription is available for you to pick up and bring to a pharmacy.

Some patients could feel nauseated after surgery for up to two weeks or more. This is often from the medications given in surgery and this feeling will gradually subside. Narcotic pain medication can also cause nausea in some people. Make sure that you take your pain medication with food. Also, pain medication can cause constipation which can be alleviated with an over-the-counter stool softener such as Colace or Senokot. Patients should be off the Narcotic pain medicine and be able to safely get in and out of their vehicle before it is considered safe to drive. Please call the office to verify with the clinical staff if it is safe for you to drive.
TED hose should be worn for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Your first post op appointment will be 2-3 weeks following surgery and may be with the physician assistant, nurse or medical assistant. If you have staples or sutures to close your incision, these will be removed at this visit.
Once there is no drainage from your incision, it is ok to shower. Once your surgical dressing has been removed, you may shower without a dressing. Lightly wash with soap and water but do not scrub the incision site. Be sure the site is completely dry afterward.
It is important to keep your incision site clean and dry. A special dressing will be placed over your incision at the time of your surgery and should remain in place for seven days following surgery, unless otherwise specified by your surgeon. If the dressing becomes more than two-thirds stained, remove the dressing and replace with a gauze dressing. Keep a dressing over your incision until your follow up visit.
You should ice your surgical site as often as possible for the first 48 hours. Ice should not be kept on longer than 20 minutes and should not be placed directly on the skin. Continue to elevate your surgical area for the next 2-3 weeks (while lying down) to help with swelling after surgery. You will notice an increase in swelling with increased activity.
Orthovisc, Euflexxa, Synvisc, Hyalgan are a series of three injections used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. GelOne and Durolane are injections that are done in one, instead of three. These injections are used to replace the natural chemical hyaluronan that is found in the body in high volume within the joint tissues and the fluid that fills the joint. In patients with osteoarthritis, there may not be enough hyaluronan in the joint fluid and tissues; therefore, causing wear and tear on the bones within the joint. The body’s own hyaluronan acts as a lubricant and shock absorber in the joint and is necessary for the joint to operate properly. These injections are most often performed on patients that have not received significant pain relief with the use of medication, physical therapy, or corticosteroids that are injected directly into the joint. This procedure requires authorization from your insurance company. These injections typically can be repeated every 6 months.
Dr. Malvitz is trained to perform the MAKO partial knee replacement surgery. It is best to discuss this at your appointment to see if you are a candidate for this type of surgery.
Total joint replacements are done at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, Metro Health Hospital, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Outpatient surgeries may be done at Metro Health/OAM Surgery Center, Metro Health Hospital, or a Spectrum Health Facility. Check with your physician’s clinical staff for which facility your physician performs surgery.
Surgeries are typically scheduled 4-8 weeks out although this varies with the time of year and the particular type of surgery to be performed.