Robotic Orthopaedic Institute™

Frequently Asked Questions on Medical Travel for Robotic Joint Replacement and Orthopaedic Surgery

A: Yes! Patients frequently travel from adjacent states and from rural areas within Utah. They also travel from further away, including several Provinces in Canada where waiting times and technologies such as robotic joint replacement and direct anterior approach hip replacement are simply unavailable.

Of course! Begin the process by reaching out to one of Dr. Hicken’s New Patient Liaisons at (435) 523-3378. They will guide you step-by-step through the process and provide the address where your images and paperwork can be sent.

A: Patients traveling to St George for surgery have two options:

Option 1: Includes three trips to St George.

1st Trip: Initial Consultation with Dr. Hicken

2nd Trip: Pre-operative Appointments & Surgery

3rd Trip: Follow-up Appointment

Option 2: Includes one trip to St George.

Only Trip: Pre-operative Appointments & Surgery

*This option includes a virtual consultation and virtual follow-up appointment.*

A: By going virtual. If you would like to have x-rays taken locally and sent to Dr. Hicken’s office, along with the required paperwork, Dr. Hicken’s New Patient Liaison can set up a virtual consultation for you. The virtual consultation entails a video meeting with either Dr. Hicken or his Physician Assistant, Craig Degen PA-C, who will present your case to Dr. Hicken so he can determine if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive joint replacement surgery. From there, the surgical arrangements can be made over the phone and you would meet Dr. Hicken the day before your surgery. Virtual appointments are available for follow-up visits as well.

A: You have a few options from which to choose:

  • You may remain for a short while to get started on a program of rehabilitation with Dr Ben Toolson (DPT), in our clinic who can also arrange remote physiotherapy for when you return home;
  • In-home physical therapy can be set up for you by Dr. Hicken’s coordinator, regardless of where you live; or
  • Additionally, outpatient physical therapy will also be local to you.

A: If you are flying home or driving more than 4 hours home after surgery, you will need to stay in St George for 48 hours. His team will be pleased to make your hotel arrangements for you, if necessary. Regardless of the day you plan to depart, one of Dr. Hicken’s staff members will check in with you before you depart.

A: Yes. With Dr. Hicken’s minimally invasive approach to robotic joint replacement surgery and other musculoskeletal procedures (e.g., ACL repair, meniscus repair, carpal tunnel release, etc.,) you’re mobile very quickly and in good control of pain; as such, you’re also at a much lower risk of blood clots and it is safe to fly as soon as 48 hours after the procedure. In some cases,  you’ll be cleared to leave the very next day.

A: The standard of care in most cases is at least three visits over a 90-day post-operative period.

  • The objective of your first visit is to remove your sutures, and check your surgical site. 
  • For joint replacement surgeries, you’ll also have an appointment with pre-visit x-rays at about six weeks to check the placement and positioning and healing of the joint replacement and your range of motion. 
  • Then, close to three months after surgery, you’ll have a final visit to release you from care. 

These follow up visits can be accomplished as video-assisted telehealth visits. Just let us know if you’d like to arrange in-person or video-assisted telehealth follow ups and our staff will make the necessary arrangements


A: Yes. It is important to have a companion able to help you post-operatively, including travel to and from St George. Our office can assist with arrangements for care while you’re here in St George if you do not have a caretaker throughout your stay.


A: You may want to have a car at your disposal while in St George, but it is not absolutely necessary.  There are many options from which to choose to get around. The city is small and several hotels are convenient to the surgical center, restaurants, pharmacies, and other outlets you may need.

Home health services (nursing and physical therapy) can be sent to your hotel, and your post-operative medications are given to you upon discharge so you don’t have to search for a nearby pharmacy after hours or in an unfamiliar town.

A: Our office can assist you with hotel recommendations depending on the type of procedure you are planning. 

For many orthopaedic procedures, your greatest risks are infection and falls.  The reason we don’t recommend independent home rentals or Airbnb and similar arrangements is because we cannot determine cleanliness and appropriateness for an orthopaedic patient (e.g., stairs, low toilets, trip hazards, live plants and organic matter in the area where the patient will stay, etc.).

We have made arrangements for discounted rates at many nearby accommodation outlets nearby for Dr. Hicken’s patients and their families.

If you are being redirected to Dr Hicken and the St George Surgical Center by your employer-or union-sponsored health benefit program, they may also offer options and discounted rates from which to choose. 


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