Ask Dr. Morton

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthopedic Surgery

Ask Dr. Morton! | Frequently Asked Questions2022-01-09T09:34:23-10:00

Do you have a question that wasn’t answered here? Schedule an appointment to talk with Dr. Morton. You can also send an email to [email protected].

Can MLS Laser Therapy be used in conjunction with other treatments?2024-02-14T20:35:04-10:00

Yes, MLS Orthopedic Laser Therapy can effectively complement other treatment modalities, including physical therapy, chiropractic care, and traditional medical treatments. It can enhance the overall effectiveness of a comprehensive treatment plan.

What can I expect after a treatment session?2024-02-14T20:33:55-10:00

Most patients notice a gradual improvement in their symptoms, including pain and inflammation reduction, as they progress through their MLS Robotic Laser Therapy plan. The response time can vary, with some individuals experiencing quicker relief and others taking longer to notice changes. Generally, positive outcomes are observed within the first 2 to 4 sessions. The typical treatment plan consists of 7 to 12 sessions, emphasizing the cumulative effect of MLS Robotic Laser Therapy. Completing the full course of treatments as your healthcare provider prescribes is crucial for achieving the best results. Prematurely ending the treatment regimen may result in the return of symptoms.

Will my insurance cover MLS Laser Therapy?2024-02-14T20:31:31-10:00

Currently, MLS Laser Therapy is not widely covered by insurance plans, as it is often considered investigational. Patients are advised to consult with their insurance provider for the most accurate information regarding coverage.

How many treatments will I need?2024-02-14T20:29:34-10:00

The number of treatments varies based on the specific condition and its severity. Some patients experience significant improvement after just a few sessions, while others may require a series of treatments to achieve optimal results. A typical course may consist of 6 to 12 sessions, with chronic conditions possibly requiring more.

How long does each treatment session last?2024-02-14T20:28:35-10:00

A typical MLS Laser Therapy session lasts approximately 4 to 12 minutes, depending on the condition being treated and the size of the area requiring attention.

Is MLS Laser Therapy safe?2024-02-14T20:27:20-10:00

Yes, MLS Laser Therapy is FDA-cleared and is a safe and non-invasive treatment option for orthopedic conditions. There are minimal to no side effects associated with the therapy. Patients do not experience discomfort during the treatment, and there is no downtime required after a session.

What conditions can be treated with MLS Laser Therapy?2024-02-14T20:25:34-10:00

MLS Laser Therapy is effective for a variety of orthopedic conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Chronic and acute pain
  • Arthritis and other joint disorders
  • Post-surgical recovery
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • Tendonitis
  • Back and neck pain
  • Neuropathic pain
How does MLS Laser Therapy work?2024-02-14T20:24:15-10:00

MLS Laser Therapy works by delivering light energy directly to the targeted area, stimulating cellular activity to promote healing and reduce pain. The therapy enhances blood circulation, accelerates tissue repair, reduces swelling, and can help to restore normal cellular function.

What Is MLS Laser Therapy?2024-02-14T20:23:33-10:00

MLS Laser Therapy is an advanced orthopedic treatment that uses concentrated light energy to stimulate healing, reduce pain, and decrease inflammation in affected tissues. The “MLS” stands for Multiwave Locked System, which combines two specific wavelengths of light synchronized to provide deeper tissue penetration and enhanced therapeutic effects.

Is it possible for me to obtain a copy of my operative report and x-rays?2022-10-08T21:21:43-10:00

We will provide these documents to you for your records and for any local orthopedic surgeon involved in your care.

Should I arrange for a local orthopedic surgeon to do the follow-up of my joint replacement?2022-10-08T21:19:58-10:00

It is best to have an orthopedic surgeon local to you who would be available to examine you and communicate with us, should the need arise. Follow-up care can be difficult to find someone willing to do for a patient they did not operate on initially; we will assist you as much as possible.

When can I travel out-of-state after surgery?2021-08-01T08:30:29-10:00

Long-distance travel should usually be avoided until at least after your initial post-operative visit with your surgeon. The concern with long-distance travel is the possibility of the development of a blood clot, or missing a postoperative complication.

Once you are on a long trip, Dr. Morton recommends that you get up to stretch or walk at least once per hour during a long trip.  Taking 81mg of aspirin daily is a useful adjunct. Dr. Morton recommends starting aspirin 2 days before your trip, and 2 days after your trip to avoid blood clots. You may want to talk with your primary care physician if you have a history of stomach ulcers, allergies, blood clots, or bleeding disorders. Usually, patients will desire an aisle seat or a lay-flat seat for long distances during their initial recovery.

When can I drive after a hip replacement?2021-08-01T08:24:16-10:00

The answer varies from patient to patient, and whether you have surgery on the right leg or the left leg.  As a general rule, you cannot drive if you are on narcotics or unsafe on the road.  Patients on average are able to return to driving between 2 and 6 weeks after surgery.  I usually advise my patients that if they feel like they wouldn’t be able to stop in the event of an emergency or if a pedestrian suddenly decided to cross the road in front of the car, they should not drive.  Practice on a parking lot before driving on the road.

What Is Dr. Paul Morton’s Fax Number?2021-04-24T16:21:24-10:00


What’s the phone number can I call to create an appointment?2021-04-24T16:20:38-10:00


Does Dr. Morton see new patients at Queen’s West?2021-04-24T16:18:30-10:00

Dr. Morton’s West Oahu location is at West Oahu Orthopedics at 94-673 Kupuohi St, C205, Waipahu, Hawaii 96797.

How accurate is robotic joint replacement surgery?2021-02-28T20:51:34-10:00

Robotic joint replacement can make bone cuts within 0.5mm of the plan and <1° of expected placement. In comparison, 15-20% of traditional instrumented knee replacements are unable to get within 3° of the expected resection.

I don’t want a robot performing my surgery, I want a human to do it. Does a robot do my surgery?2021-02-28T20:51:15-10:00

Your surgeon is responsible for performing every aspect of the surgery. While the robot assists with improved data collection and bone cuts, the surgeon has to guide the instruments into the right place. The robot is incredibly accurate and prevents surgeons from cutting errors that are imperceptible to the human eye.

Why doesn’t my surgeon perform a robotic assisted surgery?2021-02-28T20:50:53-10:00

Robotic-assisted hip and knee surgery is a newer technology. Not all surgeons were trained in the robot during their training and are not comfortable with learning a new way to perform the same surgery.

Are there any difference in preparing for a robotic hip or knee replacement compared to a traditional joint replacement?2021-02-28T20:50:35-10:00

Some joint replacement systems require special preoperative imaging (CT scan or x-rays). Dr. Morton does not require additional imaging beyond x-rays for his hip or knee replacement surgeries. During surgery two small incisions are made into your thigh and shin to place the robot trackers.

What is the cost to the hospital for robotic hip or knee replacements?2021-02-28T20:49:55-10:00

Pricing programs vary depending on the hospital, implant usage, and physician demand. While a robotic-assisted knee replacement requiring a CT-scan preoperatively will generally cost the hospital an additional $2,000 per patient as reported in some studies, the overall cost to the health system may be decreased due to lower complication rates.

How much does robotic hip or knee replacement cost?2021-02-28T20:49:29-10:00

Patients are not expected to pay any more for their robotic hip or knee replacement. Your bill will be the same from the hospital, regardless if you have a robotic-assisted, or traditional knee replacement.

Are Robotic-Assisted Hip or Knee Replacements Better?2021-02-28T20:50:04-10:00

Robotic assistance allows for more accurate placement of your implant, takes into account the positioning of your anatomy, and personalizing the implantation of your knee. Early and mid-term data from studies demonstrate that robotic-placed implants last longer, recover faster, and have lower amounts of pain overall.

Does knee replacement require an overnight stay?2021-02-28T20:44:57-10:00

Some facilities deem an overnight stay as an “outpatient knee replacement”. Some of our patients may elect to stay overnight or may have medical problems that preclude them from going home on the same day. We do allow many of our healthier patients to go home on the same day as their surgery.

How will I know if I am safe to go home after my knee replacement?2021-02-28T20:44:34-10:00

Your medical history will be carefully evaluated to ensure that you are a good candidate to return home on the same day after your knee replacement. After a discussion with your physician, we will decide if you can return home safely. We make sure that all of our patients work with a physical therapist to ensure that they can safely navigate the obstacles in their home before being discharged.

Can I go home on the same day as my knee replacement?2021-02-28T20:43:08-10:00

Your surgeon will evaluate your medical history and see if you are a good candidate to return home on the day of surgery. With modern medicine, anesthesia, and surgical technique, many of our patients are able to return on the same day as their knee replacements.

Does Dr. Morton accept my insurance?2021-02-28T20:39:21-10:00

Most likely. I accept most insurance plans including HMSA, HMAA, Medicare, Medicaid, MDX, UHA, and United. Call our office to confirm.

Does Dr. Morton accept new patients?2021-02-28T20:38:59-10:00

Absolutely! Call our office today at (808) 439-6201

Where does Dr. Morton Practice?2021-03-21T08:34:09-10:00

Dr. Morton practices in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Queen’s Medical Center, Physicians Office Building 1, Suite 808.

What orthopedic services does Dr. Morton Provide?2021-02-28T20:38:09-10:00

Dr. Morton is a hip and knee specialist who provides clinical and surgical services. His focuses are on joint replacements, complex reconstruction, robotic-assisted surgery, sports surgeries, and trauma care.

What’s the difference between Orthopaedic and Orthopedic?2021-02-28T20:14:02-10:00

Orthopaedic and orthopedic are words that have the same meaning, referring to the same medical specialty. Orthopaedics is the original British word. Orthopedics is the Americanized, more common version. Professional organizations tend to use British spelling, while most physicians in the US use them equally. You can use them interchangeably.

What kind of doctor replaces knees?2021-02-28T20:07:44-10:00
Orthopedic surgeons perform total and partial knee replacement surgery. You should look for someone who is board-certified. While there is no special certification or licensing specific to knee replacement surgery, an ACGME-accredited fellowship can provide assurances in the quality of training that your surgeon received.
How do I pick the best knee surgeon in Hawaii?2021-02-28T20:17:25-10:00

You want an orthopedic surgeon who is specialized in joint replacement, joint preservation, sports injuries, and salvage procedures. You should look for someone who is an expert in minimally-invasive techniques, including the Direct Anterior Approach to hip replacement, and is comfortable in modern techniques such as partial knee replacements and robotic-assisted joint replacements. Dr. Morton can provide you with excellent services as a knee surgeon.

How do I pick the best hip surgeon in Hawaii?2021-08-19T21:24:26-10:00

You want an orthopedic surgeon who is specialized in joint replacement, joint preservation, sports injuries, and salvage procedures. You should look for someone who is an expert in minimally-invasive techniques, including the Direct Anterior Approach to hip replacement, and is comfortable in modern techniques such as partial knee replacements and robotic-assisted joint replacements. Dr. Morton can provide you with excellent services as a hip surgeon.

How do I pick the best/top orthopedic surgeon in Hawaii?2021-02-28T20:17:56-10:00

Dr. Paul Norio Morton is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon that practices on Oahu and the Big Island. He treats a broad range of orthopedic conditions including arthritis, sports injuries, hip and knee replacements, trauma, and robotic joint arthroplasty. He believes in treating his patients with a holistic approach – incorporating patient’s desires and expectations into the treatment of their musculoskeletal problems.

How do I choose a good Orthopedic Surgeon?2021-02-28T19:59:36-10:00
  1. Credentials: Research your orthopedic surgeon’s credentials. Make sure your surgeon has achieved appropriate education for your orthopedic needs.
  2. Experience: Discuss with your orthopedic surgeon their experience with the particular surgery
  3. Hospital Quality: Make sure that you are comfortable at the hospital where you may have your operation. Check the US News site for hospital ratings.
  4. Communication: Some patients enjoy a friendly doctor, others are looking for a more paternalistic approach.
  5. Reviews: Research other’s experiences by looking at their reviews online
  6. Insurance: Not all doctors will take your insurance. Check before making your appointment
  7. Comfort: If you’re not comfortable with your orthopedic surgeon, look elsewhere.
Where is the best hospital to have orthopedic surgery in Hawaii?2021-02-28T20:02:19-10:00

The Queen’s Medical Center is ranked #1 in Hawaii by the USNews and high performing at both Hip and Knee replacements.

Do I need physical therapy after my injury or surgery?2021-02-28T18:19:05-10:00

Physical therapists do an excellent job of helping patients reach their full potential. They have advanced degrees in understanding body mechanics and helping you recover and get your life back to normal. If you have questions about what exercises you can do on your own, or why a therapist might be necessary, talk with Dr. Morton

I didn’t get my post-op physical therapy protocol.2021-02-28T18:18:44-10:00

Please download a copy of it here. If there’s a protocol not listed here, talk with Dr. Morton.

Do you have physical therapy in your clinic?2021-02-28T18:18:27-10:00

We do not formally own a physical therapy clinic. However, we have excellent relationships with many physical therapist offices.

What if I don’t want surgery for patellar maltracking?2021-02-28T18:15:08-10:00

Fortunately, most forms of patellar maltracking can be treated without surgery. An extensive course of physical therapy can often resolve the pain and stabilize the kneecap. If you have a form of maltracking that requires surgery for treatment, you should talk to an orthopedic surgeon.

What happens if I don’t address patellar maltracking?2021-02-28T18:14:34-10:00

Most cases are able to be treated without surgery. Sometimes, severe patellar maltracking can cause structural damage to the joint, resulting in pain, cartilage loss, and osteoarthritis. Over time, arthritis can interfere with a person’s life to the extent that they get the joint replaced.

I have knee pain. How do I know I have patellar maltracking?2021-02-28T18:14:50-10:00

Patellofemoral syndrome, or patellar maltracking is prevalent. Pain is often in the front of the knee, worse with stairs. Xrays may show the knee cap tilted to the side.

How long does a partial knee replacement last?2021-02-28T18:08:24-10:00

Partial knee replacements that are done for the right reasons can last a lifetime. Patients who are heavier, have a higher activity level, or have arthritis in other areas of their knee are at a higher risk for failure. At 10 years, 90% of partial knees done with historical techniques are still functioning well. Using robotic assistance, surgeries are able to have their implants placed in better positions, and the longevity approaches that of total knees, while maintaining the improved kinematics from a partial knee.

Who is a candidate for a partial knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:08:01-10:00

Partial knee replacements are a good surgical option for patients who have to isolated osteoarthritis to only one compartment. The knee is made of three compartments – medial, lateral, and patellofemoral. Partial knee replacements in patients with arthritis in more than one compartment are at high risk of failure after a partial knee replacement.

What can I expect with a partial knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:07:30-10:00

Comparatively, there is less surgery associated with a partial knee replacement. This results in less blood loss, less pain, and quicker recovery. Patients are generally able to return home on the same day of surgery. You are able to shower right away. After about 6 weeks, most patients are able to return to many of their normal activities.

What is the normal recovery time for a partial knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:07:09-10:00

Recovery from a partial knee replacement is generally faster compared to a total knee replacement. Partial knee replacements usually recover between 4 and 10 weeks. Total knee replacements can take between 8 to 12 weeks for a recovery.

Do I need a card when I go to the airport? Will I set off the metal detectors?2021-08-01T08:34:23-10:00
You do not need a card after your new hip or knee replacement. After all, if you were a terrorist – they would still have to scan you. They will still let you fly, even if you don’t have a card. You will have to let the TSA agent know that you have a metal implant in your knee.
Is blistering around my incision normal after knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:04:40-10:00

Blistering can be a side effect of the bandages or swelling after your replacement. Blistering is a rare phenomenon. If you have blistering, please call me to make sure that there are no complications to be concerned about.

Is bruising normal after knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:04:23-10:00

Yes. In order to implant your new knee, we have to move the muscles and soft tissue to the side. Cutting the bone can cause a significant amount of blood flow. This will cause a large amount of bruising and discoloration after surgery.

My friend got a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine after surgery. Why didn’t I get one?2021-02-28T18:04:04-10:00

These devices have fallen out of favor in the orthopedic community. We have found that these devices are expensive and have not made a difference in return to motion after a knee replacement. These have not been used for years by most orthopedic surgeons.

I have numbness on the outside of my knee after my replacement. Is this normal?2021-02-28T18:03:46-10:00

During a knee replacement, we cut through the infra-patellar branch of the saphenous nerve. This nerve is responsible for the sensation on the outside of your knee. This usually disappears slightly with time, but you will always have a numb area there. Some patients can develop a painful neuroma. I am happy to talk about any of your concerns about this numbness.

When can I return to work after surgery?2021-08-01T08:31:36-10:00

This is a complex question depending on what job type you are doing.

Desk job: I tell most patients that they will feel well enough to begin working around two weeks after surgery. Some patients who are gung-ho will even start working immediately after surgery.

Light Labor: Light labor that requires frequent walking or light lifting. Some patients may require 6 weeks to 3 months before returning to work. Close monitoring will be needed to help you determine when you are safe.

Heavy labor: Construction and other types of manual labor usually requires at least 3 months of recovery. Some patients will have to change their careers depending on their demands. Talk with your surgeon before returning to work.

How quickly will I be up after a knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:03:01-10:00

We have our patients walking on the same day. patients who are expected to go home will have a course of physical therapy in the post-op unit to ensure that they are safe to go home.

When can I drive after a knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:02:37-10:00

This depends on if you drive a manual transmission car, and if your replacement involves your right or left knee. Patients who undergo a right knee replacement are going to take longer to start driving – sometimes up to 6 weeks.

I allow patients to drive when they reach the following goals: 1. No significant pain while driving, 2. No longer taking narcotics, 3. Able to stop in the event of an emergency such as a small child crossing the road.

Most patients are able to achieve this with a left knee replacement around two-weeks after surgery.

Do I need to go to a skilled nursing facility or rehab after knee replacement?2021-02-28T18:02:11-10:00

Modern knee replacements are performed on an outpatient basis. Many patients are able to go home on the same day, and sometimes the following day. This is because our pain control and anesthesia have significantly improved. Some patients who do not have adequate support at home will require a skilled nursing facility to recover until they are strong.

How long will the operation take?2021-02-28T18:01:49-10:00

Time is relative. For patients undergoing a knee replacement – it will be as if no time has passed, as they will be asleep. For family members in the waiting room, it can be a couple of hours before they have a chance to see their loved ones, depending on the anesthesia used. For me, it usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour to perform a knee replacement depending on patient anatomy. This is because I perform all parts of the operation, including exposure, implantation, and closure.

Do I need custom implants for my joint replacement?2021-02-28T18:01:17-10:00

Custom implants and customized jigs are a technology that has not demonstrated to have brought significant value for patient outcomes. These devices have not been demonstrated to be more reliable than traditional knee replacements. It is likely because it does not take into account your soft-tissue anatomy at the time of surgery. This is the difference that robotic joint replacements provide.

How close before surgery can I have an injection in my knee?2021-02-28T18:00:18-10:00

While the science is conflicting on whether injections are associated with infected knee replacements, many insurance companies have made limitations on joint replacements after injections. If you have an injection, most insurance companies will not support payment for a knee replacement for 3 months after your injection. This is with the health of our patients in mind. Avoidance of infection is of utmost importance as an infection can have devastating consequences.

Is it necessary to have a robot assist with the surgery?2021-02-28T17:59:30-10:00

Robotic joint replacements are a hot-topic in hip and knee replacements. While you may not need a robot to perform your surgery, robotic knee replacements are able to provide a much more accurate positioning of your knee replacements and personalize the implantation to your anatomy. Much like anterior hip replacements are able to position our implants better and improve outcomes, I believe that robotic joint replacements can make the same improvements for knee replacements.

Should I have a partial (uni) or total knee replacement?2021-02-28T17:58:52-10:00

Partial and total knee replacement surgery have excellent track records. There are risks and benefits to both operations. Partial knee replacements often leave patients with a more “natural feeling” knee, while total knee replacements are able to provide the longest term result with lower risk of re-operation.

When can I go to the dentist after my knee replacement?2021-02-28T17:58:25-10:00

I usually recommend that people wait three months prior to having any dental work done. Please ask for antibiotics, especially within the first year of your surgery.

Should I quit smoking before my joint replacement?2021-08-01T08:33:38-10:00

Tobacco use is known to be a significant risk factor for loosening, infection, or wound healing problems. Minimizing your tobacco use or quitting before surgery will make a significant impact. If you are able to quit for life, you will significantly reduce your risk of other complications to your overall health as well. Learn more about tobacco effects on joint replacements here.

Should I have bariatric surgery before my knee replacement?2021-02-28T17:57:24-10:00

Some patients find that once they lose a significant amount of weight after bariatric surgery, they do not need to see an orthopedic surgeon for a knee replacement. If you are able to successfully lose enough weight before surgery, you may also reduce the chance of a complication after your surgery. Obtaining a healthy weight should be your goal.

Do I need to get my bad teeth fixed before surgery?2021-02-28T17:57:07-10:00

Infections in your mouth are a significant risk factor for a knee replacement infection. We recommend that any evidence of a dental or gingival infection be addressed prior to surgery. Some clinics even require mandatory dental clearance prior to surgery. After surgery, we will often provide patients with antibiotics prior to deep cleaning or any major dental work.

Should I lose weight before knee replacement surgery?2021-02-28T17:56:41-10:00

Even if you feel fit and healthy, you may be asked to lose weight before knee replacement surgery if you are heavier. Much of the research on complications following knee replacement surgery has been focused on patients with a high body mass index (BMI). In fact, Queen’s Medical Center will not allow the scheduling of any surgery of patients with a BMI greater than 40. This is because patients who are heavier are at higher risk for the following complications:

– Infection

– Component loosening

– Poor wound healing

– Blood clots

– Pulmonary embolism (blood clot travels to the lung)

Typically, we ask patients to aim for a BMI that is less than 40 prior to surgery. We would prefer patients to obtain a BMI less than 35 as this will significantly lower your risk profile.

Can I run or jog after a knee replacement? What kinds of sports activities can I be involved in?2021-02-28T17:56:16-10:00

Running can put a tremendous amount of stress across your new implant. I would be very careful before starting a heavy-exercise program on your new knee replacement. Despite this, you can still be an athlete and do certain types of activities. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends the following activities with a total knee:

– Bicycling

– Calesthetics

– Swimming

– Low-resistance rowing

– Gentle Skiing

– Walking & Hiking

– Low-resistance weightlifting

Similarly, the AAOS advises against high-impact activities:

– Baseball

– Basketball

– Football

– Hockey

– Soccer

– High-impact aerobics

– Gymnastics

– Running and Jogging

– Powerlifting

Am I too young for a knee replacement surgery?2021-02-28T17:55:53-10:00

Traditionally, knee replacements were reserved for patients who were elderly with severe knee arthritis. Concerns regarding patients who undergo knee replacement at a younger age are focused on the wear of the knee replacement components. Any patient who is in their 40’s and 50’s is considered “young” for a knee replacement. However, they may still be a candidate for a knee replacement if they understand the limitations of the implant and have failed non-operative treatment.

The average age of patients today undergoing a knee replacement is 65 years old. While patients under the age of 50 are the fastest-growing segment of the population undergoing knee replacement surgery, many orthopedic surgeons have reservations.

How long does a knee replacement last?2021-02-28T17:55:30-10:00

Modern knee replacements have made a drastic improvement with the invention of highly cross-linked polyethylene. Polyethylene is the plastic component within your knee replacement. Traditionally, these plastic components are expected to last up to 20 years in 90% of people. With newer plastic components, we are hopeful that knee replacements will last even longer.

There are newer knee components including those made from Vitamin E or ceramic, which may reduce the wear of the plastic component.

The length of time that a knee replacement will last is variable. While the current generation of knee implants are expected to last most of our patient’s lifetimes. Orthopedic surgeons worry that high levels of activity, weight, or other complications such as infection or loosening could lead to the need for revision.

Can you walk with a torn meniscus?2021-02-28T08:44:54-10:00

Usually. Walking is unlikely to cause further damage to your knee. A bucket-handle meniscus tear that is impinged may limit your ability to walk. Call to schedule an appointment if you are concerned at 808.439.6201.

How long does a meniscus take to heal without surgery?2021-02-28T08:44:04-10:00

Results are variable. Dr. Morton may offer you a steroid shot and a course of physical therapy. This is designed to help you improve your strength and reduce your inflammation. Usually, the pain can improve over the course of 1 to 2 months.

What happens if you leave a torn meniscus untreated?2021-02-28T08:43:20-10:00

A large repairable tear untreated may go on to develop arthritis years later. Arthritis can be a serious problem and a source of debilitating pain. For patients who already have a degenerative tear, a torn meniscus may eventually become asymptomatic. If you continue to have symptoms, Dr. Morton can offer to remove the offending meniscus.

Can a meniscus tear heal on its own?2021-02-28T08:42:58-10:00

This depends on the size or location of the tear. A large tear causing impingement like a bucket-handle tear is less likely to heal on its own and is likely to need surgery. Small degenerative tears often will stop being symptomatic after a short period of conservative treatment.

I have an MRI, do I really need an x-ray of my knee?2021-02-28T08:28:35-10:00

MRIs are good at showing soft tissues. Injury to cartilage, ligaments, and meniscus can be seen on an MRI. X-rays are better at showing bone anatomy, alignment, and arthritis.

How long does it take to recover from a knee injury?2021-02-28T08:28:09-10:00

A simple injury such as a sprain or strain can heal over the course of one or two weeks. More serious injuries can take several weeks to months to get better. These more serious injuries often require intervention by an orthopedic surgeon to help you recover.

Why does my knee hurt?2021-02-28T08:27:46-10:00

Causes of knee pain can include arthritis, a broken bone, meniscus injury, inflammation of the bursa, tendon injury, or muscular weakness. Many of these ailments can be treated without surgery.

How do I know if my knee pain is serious?2021-02-28T08:27:11-10:00

You should call your orthopedic surgeon if you have significant swelling, cannot bear weight on your knee, unable to extend or flex your knee, severe deformity of your leg, developing fevers, and redness to your knee. These are signs that something more serious may be going on.

If I have many health problems, am I still able to get an arthroscopy?2021-02-28T08:21:29-10:00

Whether a patient can undergo surgery depends on the individual, their health history, and the experience and comfort of the patient. Your surgeon will talk to you about your individual risks and benefits to help you come to the best decision for you and your health.

If the surgery is minimally invasive, why are there still risks associated with it?2021-02-28T08:20:39-10:00

All surgery involves breaking through the skin and accessing a part of the body that is normally separate from the outside world. Any time that happens, there is the risk of infection. Additionally, blood clots occur in patients with risk factors and who do not move for some time. Although this surgery is relatively short, it still presents a risk for blood clots. Lastly, any time skin is passed through, there is a risk for vessel injury. This may cause bleeding into the joint.

Will an arthroscopy leave a big scar?2021-02-28T08:21:05-10:00

Because the incisions are so small, arthroscopy typically does cause noticeable scars. After clearance by your surgeon, keep this area covered and away from the sun. Some physicians recommend wearing sunscreen on the joint 6 months to 1 year after the surgery. People with darker complexions are especially prone to hyperpigmentation and scarring.

Will stem cell or PRP injections rebuild the cartilage in my knee?2021-02-28T07:52:46-10:00

There has been no study to substantiate that injections of PRP or stem cells will rebuild the cartilage in your knee. If you find a study, I am happy to review the science with you.

What should I do after my injection?2021-02-28T07:52:20-10:00

You can resume normal activities. I usually advise people to avoid strenuous activity such as jogging or lifting on the day of injection. You can resume all higher levels of activity the following day.

Are injections painful?2021-02-28T07:51:48-10:00

There is a small amount of discomfort associated with orthopedic injections. I do my best to minimize this discomfort by using either a “cold spray” or a lidocaine injection. Most patients say that it was a lot less painful than anticipated.

What is the best injection for arthritis?2021-02-28T07:51:17-10:00

The best-studied medication for injections is steroid injections. Orthopedic surgeons have a long history of successful steroid injection use. The studies supporting other types of injections are not as strong and should be approached with more caution.

How often can you get a steroid injection?2021-02-28T07:50:33-10:00

For joints and bursa injections such as those located on knees or hips, I am happy to perform the injection every 3 months. For tendon or nerve injections, I rarely inject more than once. This is because we know that it is safe to inject steroids into joints. There is a concern with tendon rupture with multiple steroid injections.

Can I walk with a spacer in my knee?2021-02-28T07:34:03-10:00

Most of the spacers will allow you to walk after surgery. The specifics of your case will be discussed with you after your surgery.

How long does it take to heal a knee infection?2021-02-28T07:33:30-10:00

Unfortunately, an infected total knee replacement is very difficult to cure. If you have a deep infection, multiple surgeries are often required to cure the infection. You will usually need at least 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics. Success rates following treatment of an infected knee replacement are variable depending on the chronicity of the infection, type of bacteria, and other medical problems.

How do you test for a knee infection?2021-02-28T07:33:00-10:00

Your doctor will obtain certain labs including a Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Elevated labs demonstrate an inflammatory reaction in your body. They will then take fluid from your knee with a needle. The fluid will be tested for white blood cells and bacteria. Through a combination of these tests, your doctor can help you determine if your knee is infected.

How do I know if my knee is infected?2021-02-28T07:32:10-10:00

The most common symptom is pain. Some patients have no symptoms but demonstrate a draining wound after surgery. This wound can even appear years later. Other signs include swelling, stiffness, instability, fevers, chills, or low blood pressure.

How much do glucosamine and chondroitin cost?2021-02-27T20:55:25-10:00

The cost of these medications depends on the brand and the number of pills. Tablets containing both glucosamine and chondroitin can be found for around $16 for 150 tablets. Chondroitin can be found on its own for about $15 for 120 pills. Glucosamine can be found for about $13 for 150 capsules. It is important to note that vitamins and supplements are not regulated by a government body to ensure their purity and efficacy. This means that these pills may not always be reliable or may not contain a high enough dosage to make a difference.

What are the current nonoperative treatment guidelines for osteoarthritis?2021-02-27T20:55:07-10:00

Physicians recommend the combination of exercise, weight loss, self-management programs, tai chi, cane use, topical NSAIDs, and glucocorticoid injections. They also state that some people may benefit from balance exercises and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Are glucosamine and chondroitin harmful?2021-02-27T20:54:46-10:00

Generally, glucosamine is safe and well-tolerated. There is a risk of an allergic reaction. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Chondroitin has also been shown to be safe. Like glucosamine, chondroitin is also associated with stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. It has also been associated with headaches and irregular heartbeat.

Why does cold weather make my hip or knee pain worse?2021-02-27T20:51:43-10:00

Weather changes cause a change in barometric pressure. Cold and damp weather can cause your joint to feel swollen and painful. Many patients who move from colder climates feel an improvement in their hip or knee pain.

What causes an arthritis flare or trigger?2021-02-27T20:51:22-10:00

Arthritis can be triggered by increased stress across the joint such as trauma, overdoing your normal activities, cold weather, elevated weight, or repetitive motions.

Does exercise help arthritis?2021-02-27T20:51:06-10:00

Exercise is a great way to help build strength and flexibility around a painful hip or knee joint. Building strength takes pressure off your joint and reduces your pain levels. Physical therapy and exercise are some of the best non-operative treatments for arthritis.

What is the most effective treatment for hip or knee arthritis? Can you make arthritis go away?2021-02-27T20:50:45-10:00

While injections, medications, and small procedures have been able to help with temporary relief of pain, the most effective treatment is a hip or knee replacements. For many patients, joint replacements are able to provide long-lasting pain relief and help them return to normal.

Can hip or knee arthritis be cured permanently?2021-02-27T20:50:24-10:00

Science has been looking for a cure for arthritis for a long time. At this point, we have very good treatments that alleviate pain and inflammation. Nonoperative treatment for arthritis helps people stay active with their normal knees for a longer time, sometimes avoiding surgery altogether. There are excellent surgical treatments available to help with arthritis.

How can you sleep comfortably after a broken clavicle?2021-02-27T20:07:16-10:00
You can sleep in a more upright position, using pillows to support yourself. Ice-packs and anti-inflammatory pain medication will help improve the swelling and pain. Stay mobile with range-of-motion activities for your shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
What is the fastest way to heal my collarbone fracture?2021-02-27T20:06:48-10:00

To ensure a speedy recovery you should avoid nicotine products, you may take anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc), work on range-of-motion exercises, and eat a healthy diet with calcium and protein.

How long will it take to heal my broken collarbone?2021-02-27T20:06:32-10:00

It can take up to 3 months for your collarbone to completely heal. Dr. Morton will obtain regular x-rays to evaluate the healing of your clavicle fracture. Many patients are no longer in pain within the first 1 to 2 months. Range of motion activities and physical therapy can accelerate your recovery.

Are there any special braces or slings for a clavicle fracture?2021-02-27T20:06:15-10:00

Orthopedic surgeons used to treat many patients with figure-of-eight braces. We found out that these braces do not make an impact on the final outcome or healing rate of broken collarbones. Most orthopedists have abandoned the practice of using a figure-of-eight sling. We commonly treat people with a regular sling until they are comfortable moving their arm on their own.

What does an ACL rupture feel like?2021-02-27T19:57:43-10:00

When you tear your ACL, patients often feel a sudden pop and their knee will give out from underneath them. Usually you will feel very unstable after the injury, as though your knee is “floppy”. Many patients will experience significant swelling and pain. The swelling and pain will gradually resolve. Without treatment, many patients continue to have discomfort and difficulty walking. It is important to see an orthopedic surgeon to make sure you have your knee addressed appropriately.

Can your ACL tear heal on its own?2021-02-27T19:54:31-10:00

Minor, partial tears may not cause your knee to feel unstable, and you may be able to function fine. Complete tears of your ACL will not heal without surgery. Unfortunately, the ACL is located in an area of the knee joint that it will not heal on its own. However, some patients who are lower demand can consider a rehabilitation program to strengthen their knee and successfully manage their ACL tear without surgery.

Can you delay your ACL surgery?2021-02-27T19:54:06-10:00

Patients who are less active may consider delaying their surgery if they have other obligations. However, patients who continue to perform high levels of activity are placing the cartilage and meniscus at risk for further injury. Further injury to the knee can lead to arthritis later in life.

Can you walk after an ACL tear?2021-02-27T19:53:50-10:00

Yes, you can walk. Often times the knee is very swollen after the injury. Once you recover from the initial injury, However, without an ACL patients sometimes feel unstable. Patients who are athletes or require the use of their knee for high demand activities that involve pivoting or jumping are more likely to desire an ACL reconstruction.

How long will I stay in the hospital?2021-08-01T08:16:23-10:00
Traditionally, many patients stayed in the hospital 2 to 3 days after their knee replacement and then underwent rehabilitation at a skilled nursing facility. Our surgical techniques have improved significantly and our pain control regimen after surgery allows patients to return home safely earlier – even on the day of surgery. Many patients are able to stay in the hospital overnight to recover and go home the next day. Very healthy patients may consider going home on the same day. Patients may require additional recovery may require extra days depending on their medical condition.
What can I not do after a hip replacement?2021-02-27T19:33:13-10:00
We advise people who undergo a posterior hip replacement to avoid bending beyond 90 degrees, avoid crossing your legs, do not rotate your hip inwards. These precautions are used to avoid hip dislocations. Patients who undergo an anterior hip are usually not limited postoperatively. I do advise patients undergoing an anterior hip not to extend their hip significantly in certain extreme positions.
How painful is a hip replacement?2021-02-27T19:32:26-10:00

The arthritic pain from before surgery is usually removed following hip replacements. Many patients tell me they have minimal to no pain following surgery initially. Some patients have soreness for up to 2 months. Again, I have noticed that many patients have a lower amount of pain through the anterior approach.

How long does it take to recover from hip replacement surgery?2021-02-27T19:32:00-10:00

Hip replacement recovery is variable. Many patients are feeling good at 6 weeks. It may take 3 months to a year before you completely recover from your hip replacement. The anterior hip replacement consistently allows for a quicker recovery.

What is the prognosis of avascular necrosis?2021-02-27T19:26:46-10:00

50% of people who are diagnosed with AVN of the hip undergo surgery within 3 years of their diagnosis. If there is bone collapse, this process occurs sooner.

Can you reverse avascular necrosis?2021-02-27T19:26:19-10:00
Avascular necrosis is a challenging disease. In patients with early disease, there is a possibility of arresting or reversing the process. After there is significant disease and femoral head collapse, the joint preservation techniques such as core decompression or fibula grafting have a very low chance of success.
What’s the fastest way to heal my broken wrist?2021-02-27T18:22:16-10:00

Time is important. Please allow enough time for the bone to mend. Once your bone is mended, you can begin moving your hand to start working on regaining your motion. Other things you can do include: nicotine avoidance, eat a balanced diet and consider calcium supplements.

How do you sleep with a broken wrist?2021-02-27T18:21:31-10:00

It is often hard to sleep the first night after your wrist is broken. Try to put several pillows underneath your arm to keep it elevated. Elevation of the wrist above your heart will minimize how much blood flows to your heart, and minimize the pain.

Should I move my fingers with a broken wrist?2021-02-27T18:20:50-10:00

Usually, we encourage our patients to move their fingers with a broken wrist. If your injury is too severe, your doctor will explain your limitations to you.

How long does it take for a broken wrist to heal?2021-02-27T18:20:22-10:00

It can take 2-3 months for your fractured bone to heal and often will take several months for the soft tissues and tendons to heal. Some patients require 6 months to a year of recovery.

Can you move your wrist if it’s broken?2021-02-27T18:22:51-10:00

Depending on the severity of your break you may have different abilities to move your hand. Most patients who have a fractured wrist have significant difficulty moving their wrist or hand because of pain.

How do I know if I broke my wrist?2021-02-27T18:19:10-10:00

After an injury, you may notice severe pain, deformity, swelling, or pain with any movement of your wrist. We have an x-ray available in the clinic if you would like us to evaluate you for a broken wrist.

I had a cast placed and my arm hurts. My fingers look swollen. What should I do?2021-02-27T18:18:37-10:00

First, try to elevate your wrist above your heart. Swelling can exacerbate your pain. You may try to ice your wrist. If the pain seems to be getting worse, your cast or splint may be too tight. Please call the office to be evaluated. If you need emergency treatment, please go to your nearest emergency department.

I was seen in the emergency department or an urgent care for a broken wrist and told I need surgery. How soon can I set up an appointment?2021-02-27T18:17:05-10:00

Call our office at (808) 548-7033 and we will get you seen right away. We prioritize our patients who need to get urgent treatment.

What insurance plans Does Dr. Morton take?2021-02-27T17:23:30-10:00

We accept many health care plans. Please call before your appointment to make sure that your visit will be covered. Health care plans we accept include:

Aetna Health Plans, Cigna HealthCare, Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA), Healthcare Management Administrators (HMA), Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA), Blue Cross Blue Shield HMSA, HYGEIA Travel Health, MDX Hawaii, Medicare, The Queen’s Health Systems Health Care Plan, Tricare (Will require referral from PCP), University Health Alliance (UHA), United HealthCare.

Does Dr. Morton accept my insurance?2021-02-27T16:47:48-10:00

Most likely. I accept most insurance plans including HMSA, HMAA, Medicare, Medicaid, MDX, UHA, and United. Call our office to confirm.

Does Dr. Morton accept new patients?2021-02-27T16:46:48-10:00

Absolutely! Call our office today at (808) 439-6201.

Where does Dr. Morton practice?2021-02-27T16:45:16-10:00

Dr. Morton’s practice locations are at the Physician Office Building1, Suite 808, Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. He also operates at Queen’s Medical Center West, Queen’s Medical Center Honolulu, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Castle Medical Center and Kuakini Health System.

What orthopedic services does Dr. Morton provide?2021-02-27T16:42:57-10:00

Dr. Morton is a hip and knee specialist who provides clinical and surgical services. His focuses are on joint replacements, complex reconstruction, robotic-assisted surgery, sports surgeries, and trauma care.

What if I have a medical problem after surgery?2022-10-08T21:16:02-10:00

Call (808)439-6201.

You may leave a message for me using this method. If your problem is more urgent, you may let them know you are having a medical urgency and you would like to talk with Dr. Morton. They will then connect you with me. If you are unable to reach me through this method and have a medical emergency, please go to Queen’s Medical Center’s emergency department. You may also dial 911 if you require an ambulance and are unable to transport yourself.

If you have already returned home, you should still attempt to reach me through this method. You may need to go to your nearest emergency department. All hospitals within Hawaii have transfer agreements with The Queen’s Medical Center when necessary.

How will you do a physical exam?2021-01-21T07:04:45-10:00

We will do the best we can with visual aids for your telehealth visit. However, a telehealth visit cannot substitute for an in-person physical examination. If we feel that you would benefit from a physical examination, we will discuss this with you during your visit and schedule an in-person appointment.

What if I need x-rays before my virtual appointment?2021-01-21T06:28:15-10:00

If x-rays are needed, we send orders to outside imaging companies. It’s best to allow 72 hours after x-rays are complete to have a telemedicine appointment to ensure we have been able to view your films.

What can be done during a telehealth appointment?2021-01-21T06:27:38-10:00
  • New patient and follow-up appointments
  • Order labs and imaging as needed
  • Reviewing previously ordered labs or imaging
  • Monitoring practice prescribed medications
  • Discuss any new concerns
Is telemedicine safe and HIPAA compliant?2021-01-21T06:26:58-10:00

Dr. Morton cares about the safety and privacy of our patients. We use an online platform that adheres to HIPAA privacy requirements.

What are the benefits of telemedicine?2021-01-21T06:26:28-10:00

Telemedicine offers patients a way to connect with physicians without leaving their homes. This is for convenience and safety from COVID-19.