What to Expect as a Patient

Have questions about our practice? Learn more about commonly asked questions and what to expect as a patient of NGMC below.

Why should I see an orthopedic doctor?

Orthopedic doctors or surgeons are specialized in treating injuries and problems that create pain in the bones, joints, ligaments or tendons in the body. Orthopedic doctors are specialized in performing surgeries that correct a wide range of issues from your hands to your spine all the way to your toes. However, they can also help diagnose and develop a treatment plan that does not involve surgery if your injury or issue can be improved with rest, medication, physical therapy or other treatments.

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What is a sports medicine doctor?

Sports medicine is a specialized focus that either an orthopedic surgeon or a primary care doctor has to help diagnose and treat issues related to exercise, playing a sport or overuse. From ACL tears to plantar fasciitis, sports medicine doctors can help develop a plan that can get you back to the activities you love.

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How do I know when it’s time to see a doctor for pain that I have during exercise?

If you are experiencing a new pain or issue that occurs when you move or exercise, and it is still present or getting worse after a few days of rest and taking over the counter anti-inflammatories, it may be time to schedule an appointment with our orthopedic team.

By scheduling an appointment sooner rather than later, you may have more treatment options and a more successful outcome. Waiting could worsen your injury and lengthen your recovery time.

How do I get started with your program?

You can research and choose a specific physician in our program here, or you can contact our program coordinator to discuss the issue you are having and get help setting up an appointment with the right provider. Contact our program coordinator by calling 770-219-8244 or filling out the short form on this page.

How do I know if I need to have a joint replaced?

You may be ready for a joint replacement:

  • If you have chronic pain in your hip, knee or shoulder with every-day activities, like walking, climbing stairs, getting up and down, cooking, etc.
  • If pain is persistent even when not in movement or when you are trying to rest at night.
  • If you have tried other pain management techniques, like medication or joint injections, but they are no longer working.

Ultimately, there isn’t a hard and fast rule for when a joint replacement is necessary, though. You and your doctor can make that decision together based on the level of pain you are experiencing and the activities you want to be able to do.

How long will a joint replacement last?

Conservative estimates show that joint replacements typically last between 10 – 15 years, but new studies show that the majority of hip and knee replacements last between 20 – 25 years. New surgical techniques, the quality of medical care provided during surgery and aggressive physical therapy can all improve your surgical outcomes and how long your replacement will last. That is why it is critical to choose a surgeon with experience and an excellent hospital for your surgery.

How long will it take for me to recover from orthopedic surgery?

Recovery times depend on what surgery you have. NGMC does offer a number of options for patients that help limit recovery times and speed up the healing process, including partial knee replacements, arthroscopic surgery, anterior approach hip replacement and more.

Many patients are hospitalized for one or more day for orthopedic surgery to ensure that you are ready to continue your recovery at home. However, some surgeries, like a partial knee replacement, may be done as outpatient surgery and you will be able to leave that day after a few hours of recovery in your hospital room. You may need help at home for a few days to weeks after surgery, and most patients will have a specific physical therapy regimen to follow after surgery.

Am I too old or too young for joint replacement?

A joint can show signs of wear and tear at any age, depending on a broad variety of factors. For some athletes, excessive use or injuries at a young age can cause pain that leads to a joint replacement earlier in life. For others, they may not show signs of wear and tear until a ripe old age.

Joint replacement surgery can be successful performed at any age, and joint replacements can last quite a long time. If you are concerned about whether or not a joint replacement is right for you, discuss your options with an experienced surgeon at NGMC.

What is unique about NGMC’s joint replacement surgery program?

Through the Joint Care Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville and Braselton, we offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Dedicated Orthopedic Nurse Navigators who guide the patients through the entire process
  • Casual clothes (no drafty gowns)
  • Private patient rooms
  • Joint Success Class – a free pre-operative class that will prepare you and your caregiver for success
  • Access to VOX OrthoCare, our new patient portal that offers special resources to joint care patients.

Learn more about the Joint Care Center of NGMC.

I have questions or would like additional resources about joint replacement.

NGMC has an orthopedic nurse navigator program that helps our patients through their surgical journey. Our Orthopedic Nurse Navigators are compassionate and knowledgeable about the process, and they can help answer any questions you have. They will also follow you throughout your journey, working with you and your care team to customize your treatment plan to your unique needs. Learn more about our Orthopedic Nurse Navigators.

Connect with us today!

Are ready to talk with a member of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s orthopedic care team? Here are ways you can get started:


Connect with us using our short online form.


Choose a doctor from our expert orthopedic team.