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Sexual Activity Post Hip or Knee Replacement

For those who require a total hip or partial or total knee replacement, Dr. Karas carefully evaluates each individual patient on a case-by-case basis.  This ensures he is choosing the surgical approach that will render success in the new joint for that patient.  Deciding to have a joint replacement is often the result of years of arthritis causing extreme pain and discomfort

When dealing with arthritis in your hip or knee, this pain is often debilitating for these patients and impacts various aspects of your life from physical activity to general comfort.  Lifestyles are impacted and it can even concern a patient’s sexual activity. With the implications brought on by this pain and the relief that many patients feel once the surgery is completed, the questions begin to arise about when they can begin returning to normal levels of activity and sexual activity is no exception. 

When it comes to returning to sexual activity, it is important to remember that all patients are different, and all patients heal at different paces. With this in mind, there will not be a “one size fits all” timeline in terms of when is considered an appropriate return to sexual activity.  I usually ask patient to abstain from sexual activity for the first three weeks.

After speaking with the clinical staff about when might be the appropriate time for you to start trying to reengage your sex life, there is work to be done on your part to ensure that you are truly ready and that you have healed enough to this point. One of the biggest tells for patients that they have to honestly reflect upon is whether or not they experience any joint pain during, and even after, sex. If you are experiencing any pain from your joint replacement, then it is likely you should wait a little longer before engaging in sexual activity again.

We want to ensure that you are allowing your body adequate healing time. Additionally, experimenting with different positions, that are within your current limitations, will allow you to find what will work best for you and your partner as you go through this healing process.

Generally speaking, there are different precautions to be considered when returning to sexual activity for both hip and knee replacements, and even further differences between the different possible approaches taken for a hip surgery.

If you are having a hip replacement, there are two different ways that Dr. Karas might approach your surgery. These two ways are either posterior, through the back of your hip, or anterior, through the front of your hip, and each one poses different challenges in terms of engaging in sexual activity post-surgery.

That being the case, it is important for the patient to remember that they should be avoiding any movements that cause flexion greater than 90° and internal rotations. To help mitigate these movements during sexual activity while things are healing, we recommend trying.

As the surgical patient, you should plan on being the passive partner during the first few times of engaging in sex. 

 When it comes to knee replacements, the precautions are often to a lesser extent given the implications brought on by the surgery. One key piece of information to keep in mind is that after three weeks you should be achieving 0° extension and 110° flexion making the standard for post-op sexual activity with knee replacements more about how you feel and ensuring no pain during and after any sexual activity.  Although you can kneel after knee replacement, it might be uncomfortable at first.  We would recommend that you kneel on a pillow or other soft surface until your knee becomes more desensitized.

All together with the advancements of technology in the surgical space, these types of surgeries are becoming more personalized to each individuals joint and improving the recovery process. Patients are seeing improved results with their joints and are returning to normal activity levels sooner after their surgery. Rest assured after your hip or knee replacement you too will be able to return to normal levels of pain free activity and enjoy sex after a joint replacement.

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