Hip and knee pain can be debilitating, and when it gets to the point that non-surgical care won’t work, it could be time to consider having a joint replacement. Many people put it off and suffer through unnecessary pain for too long. And, it keeps them from doing the things they love to do.
With summer coming, now is a good time to get a handle on your hip or knee pain. Let’s start with these myth busters.
Fear: Joint replacement surgery is extremely painful
Fact: While joint replacement is still major surgery with some discomfort immediately after the procedure, having a joint replaced is no longer the daunting experience it once was. In the past, joint replacement surgery typically involved a large incision to reach the damaged or diseased joint. Today, advances in techniques allow surgeons to perform the procedure through smaller incisions and with minimal disruption to surrounding tissues. At Porter Regional’s Center for Orthopedic Medicine, our surgeons frequently perform these minimally invasive joint replacement solutions, including the anterior hip approach and partial knee resurfacing, which often offer less pain and faster recovery.
Fear: After surgery I will be off my feet for a long time.
Fact: While not a quick fix, joint replacement surgery does not involve weeks or months of bed rest. In fact, the rehabilitation team at Porter Regional helps get patients up and moving after the procedure, often the same day.
Generally, joint replacement patients can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days after surgery, followed by a few weeks of outpatient physical therapy. The time it takes to make a full recovery depends on many factors, including the reason for the surgery and type of procedure performed, as well as the age and overall health of the patient, but it typically takes three to six months. In addition, the patient’s commitment to following through with postsurgical recommendations from the surgeon and physical therapist helps ensure recovery will be as short and smooth as possible.
Learn about the Center for Orthopedic Medicine, which offers a rewarding, home-like experience as you recover from joint replacement.
Fear: The new joint will wear out in a few years.
Fact: Years ago, joint replacement patients often required a second “revision” surgery to correct a joint implant that had become unstable, painful or worn out within a few years of the original procedure. Thanks to new developments in materials and structural designs, modern joint replacement implants last much longer.
Leading-edge metal alloys, including titanium and cobalt-chromium, and sophisticated plastics, such as ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, have contributed to the durability of joint implants. Together, these advances help ensure better fit, smoother function and longer-lasting relief for patients of all ages.
Now that you have the facts, you may want to learn more. A good place to start is with the FREE program: Top 10 Things You Can Do for Knee & Hip Pain. The next program is March 23.
You can also talk through your questions by contacting an orthopedic specialist.
Go for it! Like a lot of patients, you may just end up wondering, “What was I waiting for?”