Joint replacement surgery involves replacing an arthritic or dysfunctional joint with a prosthetic joint. This procedure is designed to improve the quality of life and ability to perform daily activities for people that suffer from severe joint pain. It can be the best option if severe joint pain is not alleviated by other, less invasive therapies. Replacing a joint can help you move more freely, feel better and reduce pain. While hips and knees are the most common joints that require replacement surgery, there are more than one million joint replacement surgeries performed in the United States annually, and that number continues to grow. Yet, there are several misconceptions about joint replacement surgery. Here, we debunk some of the most common myths about joint replacement.
1. I’m too young for joint replacement
There is no age minimum for joint replacement. Younger patients are now able to receive joint replacement surgery thanks to improved techniques and implants. While there are several methods of treating joint pain, such as physical therapy and medication, these aren’t always successful in managing severe pain for younger patients due to extreme joint damage. Because of shorter recovery times and more advanced technology, now you don’t have to wait to get a joint replacement. Also, with the recent advancements in the quality of implants, younger patients have less risk of needing additional surgeries due to parts wearing out.
2. I’m too old for joint replacement
Some people may believe that they should have gotten joint replacement surgery sooner, but there are no age restrictions on joint replacement surgery. While it may take more time for older patients to recover, joint replacement surgery is a perfectly viable option. All of your treatment options should be discussed with an orthopedic specialist to understand the risks before surgery. Barring any other health issues, knee replacement surgery is relatively safe in comparison to other surgeries for older patients. Don’t let your age discourage you from receiving the treatment that you need to live a comfortable and pain-free life.
3. I’ll be in extreme pain and laid up after surgery
Joint replacement patients are typically able to leave the hospital a few days after receiving surgery, and many are even discharged the same day. After surgery, doctors will preemptively treat pain with pain relief medication, and your post-surgery pain should be on the low end of the scale. You can resume most activities six weeks after surgery, and the entire recovery process can take three to six months. During this time, you will have manageable levels of pain and the ability to move relatively freely. The doctor will prescribe pain medication to manage pain levels in the first few weeks.
4. There are strict and permanent restrictions on movement and exercise
There are no rigid and permanent restrictions on movement and exercise that are caused by joint replacement surgery. You will be able to walk, and eventually, be able to participate in sports and recreational activities shortly after recovery. With the right therapy, most patients achieve a higher level of function than before their surgery.
5. The new joint will wear out after a few years
Prosthetic joints are designed with a high priority on durability and longevity so that they can last for well beyond 20 years. With the latest in technology, joints will not wear out after a few years, but you may eventually require more joint surgery. Avoiding lifting heavy weights and participating in risky sports can help you ensure that your joints will last as long as possible.
6. It doesn’t matter who performs the surgery
A highly-trained and licensed surgeon should always perform joint replacement surgeries. There is a considerable risk to your health if you receive surgery from someone that isn’t qualified. Operations are delicate procedures that must be performed with precision. A bad surgery can cause severe damage to your body and potentially spread infection if the surgery isn’t performed in a sterile environment. There is no reason to risk your life for a surgical procedure from someone that isn’t qualified.
Thinking about joint replacement surgery?
If you’re thinking about joint replacement surgery, make sure to look over all of your options first. Medication, physical therapy and less invasive procedures are all viable options for treating joint pain. If these methods don’t provide the pain relief results you’re looking for, you should consider joint replacement surgery.
The orthopaedic specialists at Cary Orthopaedics offer total and partial joint replacement surgery to replace shoulder, hip and knee joints damaged by degenerative conditions, injury or deformity. With years of experience and successful patient outcomes, our orthopaedic specialists can help you return to daily living without pain. Contact us to learn more about how joint replacement surgery can help you.