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7 Things You Need to Know About Joint Replacement

Posted 6/5/2018 by UHBlog

A knee or hip replacement can provide a new lease on life – and modern techniques make recovery quicker than ever. Call us for a consultation.

Grandparents Giving Granddaughter A Shoulder Ride In Park

Some folks won’t consider knee or hip replacement surgery because they think they can live with the pain. Others may believe it acknowledges their advancing age. Neither is a good reason to avoid a procedure that, in many cases, can greatly increase a person’s quality of life and make them feel years younger.

“The main reason to talk to your doctor is functionality,” says orthopedic surgeon Benjamin Silver, MD. “If you can’t do regular activities like cooking, cleaning, putting on socks or bathing, but also fun things like walking, biking, golfing or playing with grandchildren, there’s a problem that should be addressed.”

Here are seven things Dr. Silver says you should know about joint replacement surgery:

  1. Surgery may not be warranted. Doctors won’t perform surgery unless you need it. They may prescribe physical therapy, heat or ice packs, certain medications and injections, or other treatments first.
  2. Not everyone is a candidate. Joint replacement is usually a good option if you have severe arthritis or injuries that aren’t responding to nonsurgical treatments and are limiting your basic and recreational activities. It's not advisable if your pain is managed by nonsurgical means or, in some rare cases, if you have other physical conditions that make surgery risky.
  3. You can boost your chances for success. In the weeks leading to surgery, eat nutrient-dense food and work on maintaining your strength and flexibility with a physical therapist. These measures will aid wound healing and overall recovery.
  4. The procedures are relatively swift. Depending on the complexity of the problem, most knee or hip surgeries take two hours or less.
  5. You’ll be up and about quickly. Advances in pain relief ease recovery, so most patients walk the day of surgery and are discharged from the hospital either that day or the following day. For the next few days, you’ll walk around your house (or, in some cases, an inpatient rehab center) and perform simple activities of daily living. You’re likely to be behind the wheel of your car in three to four weeks and return to most of your normal activities five or six weeks after surgery. Mobility and range of motion continue to improve up to a year and a half later.
  6. Joint replacement requires rehab. After surgery, your doctor will prescribe a few weeks of physical therapy during which you'll learn exercises to strengthen the area around your new joint. This can be done in an outpatient clinic or an inpatient rehab center.
  7. Some restrictions may apply. Although you’ll be back to most activities within six weeks or so, athletes may have to rethink high-impact sports like basketball or ice hockey. It may also be ill-advised to jump or perform deep squats. Dr. Silver says most patients eventually resume pursuits such as golf, tennis, skating, biking, hiking, swimming and traveling.

Benjamin Silver, MD is an orthopedic adult reconstructive surgeon in the division of Joint Reconstruction and Arthritis Surgery at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Dr. Silver or any other doctor online.

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