Once considered high-tech, joint replacement has now become very common.
In fact, statistics show that more than one million hip and knee replacement surgeries are performed annually.
And that’s in the United States alone.
Undoubtedly, the popularity of the procedure can be attributed primarily to its life-changing attributes.
Studies indicate that a staggering 90 percent of individuals who have had joint replacement surgery experience enhanced mobility and significant pain relief.
When is hip and knee replacement necessary?
There are certain key elements surgeons take into consideration before joint replacement surgery is considered.
Some of the key elements include:
- Poor quality of life – aside from the pain it causes, doctors would need to gauge if the joint problem is already affecting the patient’s quality of life. Is the patient’s mood affected? Is the patient limited by the condition?
- Pain and stiffness – for patients who experience severe pain and are no longer able to carry out routine day-to-day activities (i.e. getting up from the chair, climbing, walking, etc.), joint replacement surgery is often the likely course of treatment.
- Deformity – when the leg becomes severely bowed or swollen, joint replacement will be recommended.
- Bone damage – when there is severe bone damage due to osteoarthritis or other conditions, joint replacement becomes the primary option.
However, even if patients are able to meet all the necessary requirements, other factors would need to be considered to further assess if surgery is indeed the best option.
To help determine if surgery is the best treatment route, the following questions should be asked:
Have all the other less invasive treatment options been exhausted?
Without doubt, joint replacement injuries are not only common nowadays, they are also known to be highly safe and effective.
However, just like any other surgeries, they come with certain risks.
Recovery can also take several months.
As a general rule of thumb, it is ideal to exhaust all the other nonsurgical options first and consider surgery as the last resort.
Is the patient willing to make the necessary changes?
In order to achieve the maximum result, patients who undergo joint replacement surgery would need to be dedicated and focused on making the necessary changes after the surgery.
In other words, they need to be prepared to lead a healthier lifestyle—losing the excess pounds, eating healthier, and exercising more.
Are there people who can help the patient while recovering?
Recovering from joint surgery without any help can be extra challenging, if not impossible.
At the very least, help will be needed in food preparation, wound dressing, and getting dressed.
Help should be available, especially the first few weeks after the surgery.
If there are no family members or close friends available to help, it would be best for the patient to first check for rehab facilities they can check in after the surgery.
Doing so will help ensure they’d have the needed help they need while recovering.
Although joint replacement is a treatment option readily available, it is not the best treatment course under the following scenarios:
- Infection – for patients who have had recent body infections, joint replacement surgery is not advised. This is done to ensure infection does not spread to other areas after the surgery. When the infection spreads, it might result to more serious issue that might even require further surgery.
- Other health issues – patients with a history of uncontrolled diabetes, heart attack, or stroke are not advised to have joint replacement surgery as their complication risk is relatively higher. Patients who are obese are also required to lose the excess pounds prior to the surgery.
- Cause of pain – understandably, surgeons need to make sure the source of pain is really the joint damage. Bear in mind that there are other likely reasons for hip or knee pain or damage that surgery cannot fix.