If severe joint pain is preventing you from participating in your favorite activities, you owe it to yourself and your family to find out more about joint surgery. While great advancements have been made in the non-surgical treatment of painful joints, surgery is often recommended when the pain becomes too great to manage or all other options have been exhausted.
If you are considered a joint replacement surgery here are 10 things you should expect:
- Many people are satisfied.
After a successful joint replacement surgery, many people are pleased and say that if they had to do it all over again they would.
- Advanced techniques will have you up and walking the same day.
With the newest minimally-invasive procedures, patients can be walking the same day as their surgery. This is good news; being sedentary raises a patient’s risk for complications and extends the recovery. Physicians like to see patients up and moving as soon as possible to ensure that the new joint heals well.
- Speaking of moving, physical therapy is key.
The more you move, the better your long-term outcome. After leaving the hospital, your physician should refer you to a physical therapist who will help you move your new joint. Aside from physical therapy, the key is to getting back on your feet is exercising on your own twice a day.
- You don’t have to suffer in pain.
Techniques like femoral nerve block can help relieve an incredible amount of pain in the day or so following the surgery. By administering pain relief in the first few days, doctors can help their patients get through the worst of the pain. Post-operative pain can be managed from home after discharge with oral medications.
- Joint replacements vary.
There are many artificial-joint products. The most common is metal-on-plastic, with a metal ball and a plastic liner or socket, but there are also metal-on-plastic or ceramic-on-ceramic replacements. Ask your surgeon about which joint may be best for you.
- Getting in shape before surgery is a good idea.
Overweight and obese people are 33 times more likely to need a joint replacement than thinner people, so losing weight may even help prevent or delay the need for an operation. Obese joint replacement patients are also more likely to experience complications (like infection and slow recovery) after the procedure.
- Success rates can vary.
The majority of joint replacements go off without a hitch, but about 10% of 400,000 of the total hip and knee replacements in the U.S. each year need additional surgery to remove the first implant and insert another, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
- Picking the right surgeon is critical.
People who have hip or knee replacements at hospitals with a low surgical volume have a higher risk of clots and dying after surgery, a recent study of mostly elderly patients found. Choose an orthopaedic surgeon and hospital that conducts many of these procedures each year. For a referral call around or ask your primary care physician.
- Recovery can be long and involved.
While patients are typically released three days after the operation, people typically don’t return to work until between six weeks and three months later. Most see a full recovered after a year.
- Artificial joints can wear out.
A joint can last between 15 – 25 years, but you may eventually need to have the artificial joint replaced.
Source: Health.com “13 Things You Should Know About Joint Replacements”