What is Joint Replacement?
A joint is an articulation (junction) between 2 or more bones in the body. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other soft tissue structures hold the joint in position. Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged or worn out articulating parts of the joint are removed and replaced with new artificial joint parts (prosthesis) made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.
Joint disorders such as arthritis, a condition in which the articular cartilage that covers the joint surface is damaged or worn out, can cause significant pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint. Joint replacement surgery is usually employed to treat symptoms of arthritis. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the normal functioning of the joint. The two most common joint replacement surgeries are knee replacement and hip replacement.
How Do I Know that I Need Knee or Hip Replacement?
Damage to the knee or hip joint can occur due to several reasons but the most common reason is arthritis. If your knee or hip joint has been severely damaged by injury or arthritis, simple daily activities like getting in and out of a chair/bed, going up and down the stairs, or even walking may be difficult and painful for you. Conservative treatment such as medication may help control your pain but only temporarily. Your physician may therefore advise knee/hip replacement surgery as a permanent solution. Before deciding to undergo surgery, you must be sure that your expectations about the results of the surgery are realistic and you understand the risks and benefits associated with it.
What Benefits Can I Expect from Hip or Knee Replacement?
Surgery to replace a hip or knee joint can have a considerable effect on the lifestyle of patients suffering from joint disability and pain. These replacement surgeries can alleviate your pain and help you enjoy your normal day-to-day activities without any functional limitations. Advances in technology and joint replacement surgical techniques have considerably improved the outcomes.
What Risks Can I Expect from Hip or knee replacement?
Joint replacement is a relatively safe surgery. However, as with any surgery, there are risks that could occur. The most common hip and knee replacement risks include infection, blood clots, nerve injury, and prosthesis issues like loosening or dislocation. However, complications after a joint replacement surgery are rare.
What Should I Bring to the Hospital?
Your surgeon may recommend bringing certain basic things, such as:
- Your personal toiletries
- Loose and comfortable clothing
- Slippers or slip-on shoes with closed backs
- A list of current medications, including dosages
- Any paperwork that has been requested by the hospital
Can Both Knee Surgeries be Performed at the Same Time?
Both knee replacement surgeries can be performed under one anesthesia. However, the decision to perform simultaneous knee replacement depends upon the age and medical fitness of the patient.
How Long Does the Joint Replacement Surgery Last?
A total joint replacement operation normally takes about 2 to 3 hours to perform depending upon the type of surgical technique involved. Talk to your surgeon for additional specifics of the surgery and care plan that has been developed specifically for your joint condition.
How Long Can I Anticipate My New Joint to Last?
The longevity of your new joint implant depends upon the degree of utilization and activities involved. If utilized sensibly, joint replacements are supposed to last for about 10 to 15 years. In many individuals, it may last throughout their lifetime.
Will I Be in Pain After Joint Replacement Surgery?
It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort post joint replacement. However, your physician will employ a multimodal pain approach to keep you comfortable throughout your recovery phase. These include the use of pain and anti-inflammatory medications, application of ice, relaxation techniques, and other approaches to mitigate pain, swelling, and discomfort.
How long Will My Hospitalisation Last?
Your hospital stay depends upon the complexity of the surgery and your recovery. Individuals with only one knee replacement can return home in 2 to 3 days whereas those undergoing single-stage bilateral knee replacements can return home in 3 to 5 days.
When Can I Begin Walking after Surgery?
Usually, you can get out of bed and start walking on the same day of the operation or the following day. You will be aided by a physical therapist. Most often bending of the knee is encouraged immediately after you start walking. Once you regain your muscle strength, you can take a couple of steps with the assistance of a walker. Later, you can try taking short walks. If your progress is faster, you may begin climbing stairs by the 3rd or 4th day.
Can Somebody with Comorbidities Undergo Joint Replacement Surgery?
Patients with comorbidities such as diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure can safely undergo joint replacement surgery. However, these conditions should be well under control with medication prior to going ahead with the surgery.
What are the Constraints After Joint Replacement Surgery?
Post surgery, you need to comply with certain limitations for a specified period of time in order to protect the new joint and promote healing. These limitations include avoiding squatting or cross leg sitting, using a commode or a toilet chair, refraining from strenuous activities like jumping, running, and other heavy physical activities, but activities like walking and swimming are encouraged.
What Steps Should I Take to Prepare My Home?
You are at high risk of falls at home during your recovery phase. Hence, some steps are required to be taken to make your home environment safe. These include removing throw rugs throughout your home or removing any obstacles such as power cords, furniture and clutters from your walking path which may cause tripping or falling incident. Having an easy chair with armrests is advantageous during your early phase of recovery as chair arms allow you to push yourself to your feet with less effort.