Joint replacement surgery is a common orthopedic procedure performed hundreds of thousands of times each year. It involves inserting prostheses (artificial pieces) in a joint when the natural joint can no longer function as it was originally intended.
When Is a Joint Replacement Necessary?
Joint replacement surgery becomes necessary when other treatment solutions no longer effectively work. Doctors first try to treat joint pain in a variety of ways, including medications, physical therapy, and more. While these conservative treatments may work for some patients, they do not work for all. Additionally, these treatments may work in the beginning but as symptoms worsen, they become ineffective. In situations like these, doctors may recommend a joint replacement surgery to fix the problem.
Where in the Body Are Joints Replaced?
There are a variety of joints in the body that may require a joint replacement surgery. Some of the most common places for a joint replacement are the shoulder, knee, and hip.
Leading Up to the Procedure
The decision to get a joint replacement surgery should not be taken lightly.
Your doctor will likely recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon to discuss your joint pain. An orthopedic surgeon will examine you thoroughly and perform a series of examinations to better understand your condition and treatment options.
Once you’ve made the decision to have a joint replacement surgery, you will meet with the doctor to learn about and prepare for the procedure. Your surgeon will require several tests to be completed a few days or weeks before the procedure. These tests will help your surgeon determine whether you are healthy enough to have the procedure. Recommendations will be made for a physical therapy office so you are prepared for the post-surgical recovery process.
For the 24-48 hours before the procedure, you will be given specific directions on what to eat and drink prior to arriving for the surgery.
What Should I Expect From a Joint Replacement?
Your procedure will be completed at an outpatient center or hospital, depending on the specifics of your joint replacement procedure.
It is essential to adjust your expectations ahead of time. This may help:
- During the Procedure: First, you should understand that you will most likely have one or more artificial pieces inserted into the joint. It will take time for your body to get used to the trauma of the surgery and the presence of the prosthetic parts.
- During Recovery: You will need bed rest and support from a loved one for several days following the procedure. Recovery may take several weeks. You can also expect to be undergoing physical therapy to strengthen and begin moving the joint as intended.
- Your Results: Joint replacement surgery can successfully fix numerous types of joint problems. You should expect to see drastic improvements in the levels of pain you are experiencing on a daily basis. Recovery from joint replacement surgery is a long process that will likely require you to alter your daily routine for a few months. However, the result will be worth it because you will be able to get back to making the most of your life once you recover.
If are interested in learning about joint replacement surgery and whether it’s the right decision for you, the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland would love to meet with you. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience diagnosing and treating joint problems through a variety of treatments, including joint replacement. Call (410) 644-1880 to make an appointment today.