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Published on April 01, 2013

Q&A: Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dennis McHugh

Orthopedic Surgeon Dennis McHugh, DO, of Mercy Orthopedics at Nazareth Hospital, talks about his conservative approach to joint replacement surgery.

Dennis McHughMcHugh says once a joint becomes so damaged it compromises the quality of your life, it may be time to talk to your doctor about total joint replacement surgery.

Q. When is it time to consider having a hip or knee replacement?

A. We advise our patients to try conservative, or noninvasive, treatment options to ease joint pain and improve mobility. These include exercise, physical therapy, splints or braces or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. When these conservative measures no longer control pain and the patient’s quality of life is affected, then it’s time to consider surgery.

Q. Will joint replacement surgery ease my arthritis pain?

A. Yes, by replacing a damaged joint with a new one, we can eliminate arthritic pain.

Q. How long will I be in the hospital after joint replacement surgery?

A. You should expect to be in the hospital for a few days after your surgery. Most patients can go directly home after their hospital stay, and for a few weeks they receive help from visiting therapists and nurses from Mercy Home Health. We then recommend outpatient rehabilitation, which can take a few months to complete.

To make an appointment with Dr. McHugh or another Mercy physician, visit

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