Joint Replacement Questions you May Have

by Jsantos, February 13, 2014

Joint Replacement Questions you May Have

Joints can suffer damages due to arthritis, injuries and other causes. The decay effect caused by any of the conditions listed can cause pain, stiffness and swelling. Bones are alive and need blood to grow, heal and remain strong. Conditions and injuries can lead to slow blood flow circulation and finally generate bigger complications.

What are joint replacements made of?

Joint replacement prosthesis can be made of plastic, metal or both. Can be fixated with cement or left for the bone to grow inside them. Both methods can also be combined to keep the joint in its place.

Joints fixated with cement are usually used in sedentary older patients or people with weak bones. Younger active people and those with strong bones are better candidates for the non-cemented method. This procedure takes longer to heal because of the time the bone requires to grow and fixate itself to the prosthesis.

Artificial joints can last between 10 to 15 years. Therefore, younger patients might have to replace them several times.

Is joint replacement surgery common?

Joint replacements are growing and becoming pretty common. Annually,  in the United States alone more than a million people are operated for joint replacement. Research has demonstrated that joint replacement surgery can help even older patients recover mobility and feel better.

Are there any risks?

Every surgery has its risks. These will vary upon your health condition before the surgery, your arthritis level and the type of surgery you will receive. Orthopedic doctors like Doctor Mead have been performing joint replacements for years, accumulating great experience and amazing success-rates. This is definitively one of the main variables you need to consider while evaluating the doctor you want to work with.

Orthopedic doctors first need to evaluate you in order to give a final diagnose and recommend surgery. The joint will be tested to determine the damage.  Sometimes your orthopedic doctor can suggest exercise, canes, physical therapy, drugs and supplements. If these don’t work then surgery is the next step. A joint replacement is the best option when simple things like walking, climbing stairs or even taking a bath become painful.

What happens during surgery?

During surgery, anesthesia is administered to the patient for pain control. These can be regional, only affecting the structure to be operated; or general, where the patient will fall asleep.  Every surgery is different and its duration will depend on the actual damaged of the joint and the particular method utilized by the orthopedic doctor. Under normal circumstances, a hip or knee replacement takes up to two hours or less, unless complications appear. After the surgery, the patient is taken to a post-operative room. There, it will stay for one to two hours until anesthesia wears off.

What happens after the surgery?

Hip or knee replacement patients will usually stay in the hospital for a couple of days. If you are older and/or have other conditions, it is possible for you to stay in for a longer period of time. That will depend on your doctor’s advice.

Frecuently, patients can stand up and walk on the same day a knee or hip replacement surgery is done. At the beginning, a walker or crutches will be required. Is normal for patients to feel pain after the surgery due to the healing process and also because muscle weakness. Painkillers are prescribed to counteract pain which should not take more than several weeks to a couple of months to disappear.

Physical therapy may begin a day after the surgery to recover mobility and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. The success of the procedure will greatly depend on the discipline you have during the healing process.

If you have any questions, please contact us to guide you in the right direction.



Orthopedic Corner | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201  Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119

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